Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) ended the second test of the Moto2™ season on top of the timesheets, fastest on Day 3 and quickest overall with a 1:40.926. The Spaniard staked an immediate claim on the class on his first outing in 2018 – with EG 0,0 Marc VDS having sat out the first test at Valencia – at the venue at which he took his first Moto2™ win in 2017.
The closest challenger to Marquez’ best was Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46), who was quickest on Day 1 and 2. The Italian was three tenths in arrears by the end of the test, but only conceded the top spot towards the end of Day 3 and was the only man within half a second of Marquez. In addition, Sky Racing Team VR46 were another team who sat out Valencia, equally blasting out the blocks quickly once back on track at Jerez.
Behind the two Kalex machines on top, it was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) who led the way for KTM in third. The 2016 Moto3™ World Champion was 0.799 off the top but the quickest Austrian machine as they enter their sophomore season in the intermediate class, with teammate Miguel Oliveira – who won the final three races of 2017 – in sixth after having been the top KTM on Day 1 and Day 2.
Between the two Red Bull KTM Ajos were Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP 40) – another name often in the higher echelons of the timesheets this preseason – as he settles into his new team, with Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) rounding out the top five. Vierge, like Baldassarri, moves teams this season – and also changes manufacturer, seemingly getting to grips with his new Kalex quickly. Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) likewise showed good pace as another who is changing team, slotting into P7 and just edging compatriot Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) by 0.039 as the gaps closed up in the latter half of the top ten.
Hector Barbera (Pons HP 40) was 0.030 further back in P9 as he gets into the Moto2™ groove, with fellow former premier class racer Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) just behind him to complete the top ten. Kalex-riding Barbera is a former runner up in the intermediate class but back when it was the 250 World Championship – therefore never having previously raced in Moto2™. Lowes, meanwhile, was a Moto2™ title challenger when last in the class, but returns on a KTM.
Isaac Viñales (SAG Team) ended the Jerez test in P11 overall – but by virtue of his second quickest lap. The Spaniard’s fastest effort was exactly the same as the lap of Sam Lowes ahead of him, and was another good showing as Viñales starts 2018 on a good roll.