Flying start for Morbidelli and Márquez in Valencia
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez got their 2017 Moto2 campaigns off to a flying start during a successful two-day test at the Valencia circuit in Spain.
Despite cold conditions, both riders managed to complete an extensive test program over the course of the two days.
Morbidelli's focus was on acquainting himself with the 2017 specification Kalex Moto2 machine, which he was testing for the first time. The 22-year-old Italian worked together with his crew to identify a base set up on the new bike, with positive results. A time of 1'35.3 meant the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider ended the two days second on the timesheet and less than a tenth off the top spot.
Márquez was running comparison tests between the 2016 and 2017 versions of the Kalex Moto2 bike at Valencia so wasn't running with a transponder, which meant he didn't appear on the official timesheet. However, a best lap of 1'35.7 would have put him sixth on combined times at the end of the two days.
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS will now head further south, to the Jerez circuit, for another private two-day test, which gets underway on 22nd February.
Franco Morbidelli: 2nd – 1'35.3
“This was a very positive two days for us here at Valencia and it's always good to start the season in this way. This was our first experience with the 2017 Kalex and we tested a lot of things over the two days, as well as running back-to-back tests with the 2016 bike. Everything we tried on the 2017 bike was really positive and for me it offers some improvement over last year's version, so I'm happy about this. Now we head to Jerez where we'll get to confirm everything on a very different track and, hopefully, with some warmer weather. A good start to the season, but we still have some work to do to be ready for the first race in Qatar.”
Álex Márquez: 6th – 1'35.7
“This was my first time back on a bike since I had the operation on my arms at the end of last season, so it was important to do as many laps as possible. The arms weren't quite as fully recovered as I'd hoped, but they weren't an issue on the bike and with more track time they will be back to normal quite quickly. These two days at Valencia were mainly about comparing the 2017 and 2016 specification Kalex bikes, to understand better the strengths and weaknesses of both. We also tested a number of different swinging arms on both bikes. We will continue this process later in the week at Jerez, before making any decisions about the exact specification of the bike we'll race this season.”
Photos from MotoGP.com