The second day of testing for the Moto2 and Moto3 teams at Qatar saw winglets infect the junior classes like a rash of smallpox. In the Moto3 class, the Mahindras and Peugeots (which are basically rebadged Mahindras) grew small side winglets, of the type first tested at Jerez two weeks ago. In Moto2, Dominique Aegerter's CarXpert Kalex sprouted a couple of massive drop winglets coming off the back of the tail unit. The official MotoGP.com website reported that the Mahindra winglets were there to help create downforce in fast corners. However, one crew chief opined that the Mahindra winglets look more like they are there to control the airflow around a rider. The MotoGP.com website also stated that Aegerter's winglets were aimed at disrupting the airflow behind the bike, trying to make it harder for a following bike to take advantage of Aegerter's draft.
This kind of reasoning is likely to draw the ire of the Grand Prix Commission. Given that motorcycle racing's distinguishing characteristic is the abundance of overtaking, anything which seeks to make that more difficult, by affecting the slipstream, will not sit favorably with Dorna's technical staff. And given the perspective that the Moto2 and Moto3 classes should be cost-limited, their main aim being to develop young talent, the extensive use of aerodynamics is unlikely to be tolerated. Aerodynamics is an area which can degenerate into a spending war, with incremental gains always possible by throwing yet more CFD modeling and wind tunnel time at the problem. There is an argument to be made that the MotoGP class is meant to be a place where motorcycle manufacturers can work on technical innovation, such as aerodynamics. Moto2 and Moto3, however, are a different kettle of fish.
The question is also whether there is any point in spending on aerodynamics. While Mahindra at least had Jorge Martin finish in 8th in the Moto3 class, eight tenths behind the leader, the wings on the CarXpert Kalex were no help whatsoever. Domi Aegerter ended the second day of the test down in twentieth, nearly 1.6 seconds off the pace.
It was fellow Swiss rider Tom Luthi who led the way on the second day of Moto2 testing. Luthi ended the day an eighth of a second ahead of Jonas Folger on the AGR Kalex, while Sam Lowes was third fastest. Lowes was once again happy, having set his fastest time during the middle of a long run, when he was concentrating more on race endurance than pushing for single lap pace. Takaaki Nakagami ended the day as fourth fastest, fractionally behind Lowes and a little ahead of Alex Rins, while reigning Moto2 champion Johann Zarco finished with the sixth quickest time.
In the Moto3 class, it was once again a Honda which went fastest. Saturday's best time was set by the RW Racing GP rider Livio Loi, the Belgian building on his excellent pace from Friday to lead Moto3 by over a third of a second. In contrast to Friday, there was an orange armada of KTMs which followed Loi's Honda, with Leopard Racing's Fabio Quartararo at its head. The gaps behind Quartararo are tiny: Nicolo Bulega, deeply impressive as a rookie once again, was six hundredths slower than the Frenchman, teammate Romano Fenati was just two thousandths of a second slower, while Joan Mir set exactly the same time as Fenati.
Sunday is the final day of testing for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes, and the end of preseason testing completely. Next Thursday, the season begins in earnest.
Saturday Moto2 Times:
|11||24||Simone Corsi||Speed Up||2:00.620||0.940||0.035|
|16||60||Julian Simon||Speed Up||2:00.957||1.277||0.027|
|19||97||Xavi Vierge||Tech 3||2:01.225||1.545||0.035|
|23||19||Xavier Simeon||Speed Up||2:01.583||1.903||0.115|
|27||32||Isaac Viñales||Tech 3||2:02.915||3.235||0.211|
Saturday Moto3 Times:
|17||89||Khairul Idham Pawi||Honda||2:07.078||1.254||0.025|
|31||4||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Honda||2:09.088||3.264||0.096|