Low temperatures and high winds welcomed the Moto2 riders to Losail for the opening free practice sessions of the 2011 season tonight. Whilst the MotoGP and 125cc riders were some way off lap record pace due to the tricky conditions the Moto2 category quickly eclipsed last year’s benchmarks, set in the embryonic days of the category, although they were just as close as ever and promise to provide another year of close racing between the riders and indeed the different chassis manufacturers.
Amongst the pacesetters was MAPFRE Aspar rider Julián Simón, who escaped injury when he crashed early in the evening, losing the front end of his bike in turn 14 on only the third lap. His mechanics worked hard to get him back on track before the end of the session although there wasn’t enough time for him to regain full confidence. Changes to the front end set-up allowed him to do that in the second session and Julián was able to set the ninth fastest time, confident that he can improve tomorrow. His new team-mate Xavi Forés was the surprise package of the session, lapping just a second off the fastest time despite this being his debut in a famously fierce category.
9th Julián Simón 2.02.620 (23 laps): “It was quite a positive first day – the crash was a shame because it set our work programme back in terms of the set-up. It was a stupid crash – I ran over a rumble strip and it was covered in sand so the front just folded. I still don’t have full confidence in the front although the changes we made gave me a better feeling through the fast corners and I was able to drop my times at the end, so I hope we can continue that tomorrow. We are on the right lines and I am sure if we work like this tomorrow we will move up.”
11th Xavi Forés 2.02.923 (22 laps): “I am quite happy because this is the first time I have ridden here at night and I think it went pretty well. It was a positive first point of contact even though I am still struggling with the hand injury I picked up at Jerez. We are a second off the leading rider but I think we can work to reduce the gap and meet our objective of a top ten finish. There is a long way to go but so far I am feeling satisfied with what we have done and motivated for what is to come. We tried a shorter gear ratio in the first session today but I didn’t like it so we went back to a longer setting and it was better. We also tried a harder front tyre which also helped – these were the two key factors today.”
Source: Mapfre Aspar Team
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