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February 17, 2014 | By MotoGP.com
There will be three days of track time for the Moto2™ and Moto3™ riders from 18 to 20 February at Jerez, with plenty of testing to be undertaken before the 2014 season gets underway.
In the Moto2™ class the frontrunners from the 11th-13th February Valencia test will aim to outpace each other again, with the chasing pack looking to match the level of Marc VDS Racing Team’s Esteve Rabat.
Working with his new team for the forthcoming season the Spanish rider was the fastest attendee at Valencia and given his rise to prominence last year he is widely tipped as a title candidate for 2014 in the intermediate class.
In Jerez, the 24 -year-old and his experienced team-mate Mika Kallio - who led on Day 1 at Valencia - will continue their work with their Kalex machines, making ‘step-by-step’ progress with various items, as Rabat described his work at the opening test.
Reigning Moto3™ World Champion Maverick Viñales - who impressed at Valencia with the fastest time on the last day and the second best lap of the week – will further his adaptation to his 600cc Kalex in the south of Spain. His compatriot, rival and team-mate Luis Salom, meanwhile, will strive to close the half-second gap on Viñales from the first collective 2014 test.
Takaaki Nakagami was third best in Valencia, completing a trio of Kalex-equipped riders at the top of the teamsheet and another good test is key for him as he looks to become a race winner in 2014 with his new IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia squad.
Also keep an eye out for Tom Luthi over the Andalusian test dates – the Swiss rider had some electronic issues on the final day at the Ricardo Tormo track, but otherwise described the practice runs as highly positive on the new Interwetten Paddock Suter.
Luthi is sure to be joined towards the business end of the results sheets in Jerez by the likes of Mapfre Aspar duo Jordi Torres and Nico Terol. Torres worked on swingarms and front forks, while Terol focused on improving rear grip in Valencia and both will have busy schedules again with the highly professional Jorge Martinez-led Aspar team.
Joining the rest of the pack in Jerez are NGM Forward Racing riders Mattia Pasini and Simone Corsi, who were not in attendance at the first test. Their team will present its new Forward KLX technical package on Tuesday.
For the Moto3™ competitors, the rider to match is Junior Team GO&FUN’s Niccolo Antonelli and the Italian will be aiming to show his confidence was not knocked by a Thursday Valencia highside which saw him visiting the Clinica Mobile.
He had an otherwise excellent test as the fastest rider of the week, with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s title candidate Jack Miller in close pursuit.
Riding similar machinery in the form of the new Husqvarna entry, Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) readapts to Moto3™ this pre-season, with the Englishman aiming to stay ahead of rivals such as Romano Fenati and Francesco Bagnaia of the new Sky Racing Team by VR46 team.
Of the riders graduating this year from Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Italian youngster Enea Bastianini (Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3) has been the quickest so far over the pre-season, with Czech rider Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Dutchman Scott Deroue (RW Racing GP) intending to sharpen their pace.
Follow the Jerez test via live timing on motogp.com and enjoy all the highlights, video news and interviews from each day with the MotoGP™ VideoPass.
Story courtesy of MotoGP.com