The only official test for the Moto2 grid took place last week with a number of riders laying down an early gauntlet and smashing the previous lap record.
The three-day test saw every rider from both Moto2 and Moto3 on track at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao to make final preparations ahead of the first race of the season. This comes after two private testing sessions which were led by Sam Lowes and Ai Ogura respectively.
Overall, the gauntlet was well and truly thrown down by the sensation that is Pedro Acosta. The 2021 Moto3 Champion has clearly stated his intentions before his rookie season has even begun, thanks to laying down a time of 1:41.552 on the final day. This smashed the previous lap record by almost half a second.
Not far behind Acosta was his team mate, Augusto Fernandez – however, he was a distant 0.154s behind his colleague on day three.
Aron Canet enjoyed a hugely consistent test, sitting within the top three at the end of each day of testing.
Trouble plagued Lowes, who missed the afternoon sessions of the first and second test, before then entirely missing the third day. He has been struggling with tendonitis which seems likely to hamper the start of his season, which is fast approaching.
The first day of testing, made up of three sessions, saw Jake Dixon, on the GASGAS Aspar Team machine, posting the fastest with a 1:43.169. Overall, the final times were very close with the top four riders covered by less than a second.
Canet’s Flexbox HP 40 ended the day with the second-fastest time – just 0.075s behind Dixon. Fernandez on the Red Bull KTM Ajo machine was fastest in the first two sessions of the day. However, he decided to not run in the final session of the day. His time from the second session – a 1:43.258 – was enough to finish the day with the third fastest time.
Fernandez’s team mate, Acosta, also chose not to run in the final session. He finished the day in fourth, rounding out a successful day for the KTM team.
The second day of testing saw the riders finding more time around the Portimao circuit – so much so that four riders were able to beat the 2021 pole time set by Fernandez.
The honours for the day went to Canet who was able to go one better than day one. His fastest lap time was a 1:41.892, beating the previous lap record. Rookie Acosta secured the day’s second fastest time, a mere 0.037s off the pace. His team mate, Fernandez, was third with Dixon dropping to fourth.
A number of drivers faced a struggle on the second day, with Keminth Kubo, Marcel Schötter and Fermín Aldeguer crashing in session one. That was followed by another crash from Kubo in session two, as well as tumbles for Ogura, Acosta, Sean Dylan Kelly and Lowes.
For the second consecutive day, Lowes chose to sit out the final session of the day. This may have been caused by Lowes’ struggles with tendonitis.
The final day of testing was “The Acosta Show” as the rookie smashed the lap record and set the fastest lap of the day. Thanks to this enormous lap, the top riders were a little more spread out on the final day. Acosta’s team mate rounded out a KTM 1-2, with Canet setting the third fastest time. All three have enjoyed consistently fast times across the entire test.
Aldeguer put his day two crashes behind him to set the fourth fastest time of the day. Albert Arenas was fifth and Ogura was sixth.
There were another series of serious crashes in the final day which led to Schötter visiting the medical centre for checks on his hand and Bo Bendsneyder breaking his collarbone. There were further crashes for Arenas, Canet and Dixon, among others.
Feature Image Credit: MotoGP
Posted on 27th February, 2022 for The PitCrew Online
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