Thursday, March 22, 2012

Advantage Corti as testing concludes

Claudio Corti leads the third and final Moto2 pre-season test, at Jerez, which finishes with 14 riders within one-second of the top. 

Claudio Corti will go into the new Moto2 season having been fastest in two of the three pre-season tests. 

The Italtrans rider, fifth at the opening 2012 test at Valencia, had been joint fastest at last month's first Jerez test, but made the top spot his own on days two and three of this week's return visit. 

The performance marked a dramatic turnaround in form for Corti, who has been just 25th in the standings during the previous two seasons of the 600cc grand prix class, but is clearly much more comfortable after switching from a Suter to Kalex chassis. 

Corti, who took a podium finish in the first year of Moto2, set a best lap time of 1m 41.983s on the final afternoon of testing, allowing him to edge out Thomas Luthi by just 0.004s. 

Interwetten Suter rider Luthi, who celebrated his first Moto2 win at Sepang last year, had been fastest on the first day of testing and was the only other rider to break the 1m 42s mark. 

The official Jerez Moto2 best lap is a 1m 42.706s by last year's champion Stefan Bradl and this week's lap times - while using the official Honda engines - signalled that Moto2 will take another clear step forward in performance this year. 

But if the Jerez test is anything to go by the racing will also be incredibly competitive, with 14 riders lapping within one-second of Corti on combined lap times. 

Pons' Pol Espargaro and Marc VDS rider Mika Kallio made it three Kalex riders in the top four. 2011 runner-up Marc Marquez shrugged off his five-month layoff due to double vision to end the test in fifth place and 0.447s from the top on his Repsol Suter. 

The top Speed Up rider was multi Moto2 winner Andrea Iannone in sixth, with Avintia's Julian Simon leading the FTR challenge in ninth (+0.697s). Between them were Jerez I pace setter Scott Redding (Marc VDS), one of the few to lap slower on Wednesday, and returning former champion Toni Elias (Aspar Suter). 

The top ten - which featured four different chassis designs - was completed by new Forward Racing (Suter) signing Alex de Angelis (+0.758s) with Corti's team-mate and Moto2 rookie Takaaki Nakagami a creditable eleventh out of the 33 riders. 

Pons rider Esteve Rabat, Speed Up's Mike di Meglio and Tech 3's Bradley Smith were the remaining riders within one-second of the top. 

The top MotoBI was former 125cc title contender Johan Zarco in 16th (+1.084s) while the best Moriwaki was Gresini's Moto2 rookie Gino Rea in 23rd. The AJR of Ricky Cardus clocked the 29th best lap time (+2.377s) with MZ-RE Honda's Alexander Lundh 32nd (3.013s). Lundh was ahead of only QMMF's lady racer Elena Rosell (+4.488s). 

Moto2's third season of racing will begin under the floodlights in Qatar on the evening of April 8. 


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