Valencia test report: Zarco & Quartararo set the pace in rain-affected sessions

 In Moto2, Moto3, News


Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) and Fabio Quartararo (Estrella Galicia 0.0) finished at the top of this week’s overall timesheets in Moto2™ and Moto3™ respectively at Valencia, courtesy of their best times in the dry on Tuesday.

The three scheduled Moto2™ practice sessions were reduced to two at the Spanish track on the final day as overnight rain, more showers during the day and oil deposited on the track between turns one and four hindered the riders’ progress. The red flags were brought out while the oil was cleaned away.

Only seven riders took part in the final session of the test, with Malaysian rider Syahrin putting in the fastest Thursday lap with a 1’46.971 in that outing, marginally quicker than his Wednesday best of 1’47.666.

The quickest rider over the three days, therefore, was Frenchman Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) who registered a superb 1’34.754 lap in the dry on Tuesday. He was eighth fastest on Thursday, 1.893s behind Syahrin.

Octo Ioda Racing Team’s German rider Florian Alt (+0.513s) and Finn Mika Kallio (+0.916s), who now rides for Italtrans Racing Team, were second and third fastest respectively on Thursday.

Belgium’s Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was fourth best as he lapped +0.964s down on Syahrin, with Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in fifth place by a 0.159s margin. Those two recorded their best times in session one on Thursday, with a larger group of 16 riders taking part in that run.

However, the likes of Moto2 World Champion Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) and his new colleague and Moto3 World Champion Alex Marquez did not ride on Thursday, with their compatriots Luis Salom and Moto2 rookie Alex Rins of the Paginas Amarillas HP team taking the same decision to play it safe.

Many of the riders will head to Jerez next week for three more days of testing (17th-19th February) and they will be hoping for better weather in Andalusia.

Mapfre Mahindra Team’s rookie Spaniard Jorge Martin was the quickest Moto3™ rider on track at a wet Valencia circuit on the final day of the test.

The reigning Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup champion coped best with the tricky conditions to finish as Thursday’s fastest rider with a 1’50.386s lap, but the fastest rider of the week in Moto3 at the Spanish venue was Fabio Quartararo (Estrella Galicia 0.0) with his 1’39.392 effort in the dry on Tuesday.

The scheduled Moto3 practice sessions were also reorganised due to the rain and oil on track, which interrupted the activity.

Behind Martin on the combined Thursday timesheet was John McPhee of the Saxoprint-RTG team, the Scotsman lapping 1.465s off P1 pace on the Honda.

Martin’s teammates Francesco Bagnaia and Juanfran Guevara were third and fourth, respectively +2.207s and +2.610s behind their new colleague.

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder rounded out the Thursday top five +3.7s behind Martin, with only 14 riders registering a timed lap over three sessions on the final day.

Many of the Moto3 riders will also reconvene in Jerez for three more days of testing next week.


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