Adverse weather conditions dominated this week’s three-day Moto2 test at the Estoril track in Portugal to prevent Mike di Meglio and Bradley Smith completing any significant development work for the Tech 3 Racing Team.
Looking to put in valuable development laps on the revised Mistral 610 machine after a positive opening test in Valencia, heavy rain and gusting winds battered the Estoril track for almost the entire test. Even when the rain eased, the track was slow to dry and any productive testing was made difficult by a persistent fierce wind blowing in from the nearby Atlantic coast.
Former World 125cc Champion di Meglio finished with a best time of 1.42.8, the Frenchman escaping unhurt from a late crash on the final afternoon while trying to push on the rare occasion the track was completely dry.
British rider Smith, who continued his impressive switch to the ultra-competitive Moto2 class, completed nearly 100-laps. The 20-year-old was uninjured in a crash on the second afternoon and finished with a best lap of 1.44.2 on the unofficial timesheets.
The Tech 3 Racing Team will now be hoping for more favourable conditions when the pre-season testing campaign concludes at the Jerez circuit in early March. Smith and di Meglio will be hoping to explore more of the new Mistral 610 machine’s potential prior to jetting off to the Middle East for the eagerly anticipated opening race in Qatar on March 20.
Mike di Meglio 1.42.8
“The weather made it very difficult here in Esto ril. There was so much rain and the track never really dried sufficiently for me to push at my normal level. The track only completely dried up for the last hour of the last day but in that short time I improved my feeling with the bike. I tried some new parts and the direction we found is definitely a step forward. We are closer to the fastest group now and that gives me some good confidence. I am sorry that I crashed in the last minutes of the test today as I pushed too much and was trying to get more out of the bike when the conditions were not ideal. I want to thank the Tech 3 Racing Team because when we got out on track we did a good job and I am sure we can improve at the next test in Jerez.”
Bradley Smith 1.44.2
“Although the weather didn’t provide us with the best conditions, we are going in the right direction with the bike and I am learning a lot. The bike feels more like my friend now and that is very positive for me. Each time I go out on track I am learning so much that I am sure I can still make a big step forward. In Valencia I was two seconds away, now I am 1.5s away. I am sure we can improve by another second by the time we get to Qatar for the first race, so I’m moving in the right direction. I was lucky in the crash on the second day. The power caught me out in the rain, but luckily both the bike and me didn’t get damaged too much. We’ve got a two-week break now before the next test in Jerez and that is good to make some changes to the bike based on what we discovered in Valencia and Estoril. I’m loving working with the Tech 3 Racing Team and can’t wait for the start of the season.”
[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Tech 3 Racing]
Tech 3 Racing Team duo Mike di Meglio and Bradley Smith declared themselves satisfied with the start of their preparations for the 2011 Moto2 World Championship after completing a productive three-day test session at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia.
Cool but sunny conditions throughout the test gave Smith and di Meglio the perfect opportunity to put in vital development miles on the new 2011 Mistral 610 machine that has undergone a major winter revamp in readiness for the new season.
The most significant modification to the new bike is an all-new chassis that both Smith and di Meglio were able to quickly adapt to and post competitive times as they completed nearly 350 laps together.
Although there was no official timing available at the test, di Meglio was credited with a fastest time of 1.36.6. The Frenchman completed over 150 laps to fully understand the potential of the Mistral 610 machine by evaluating a variety of settings.
Smith was one of the hardest workers on the track as he completed almost 190-laps in his quest to familiarize himself more with the heavier and more powerful Moto2 machine. He made impressive progress throughout the test. The British rider knocked close to 1.5s off his best time compared to his Tech 3 Racing Team debut in Valencia at the beginning of November.
The Tech 3 Racing Team now moves quickly to the Estoril track in Portugal for a further three-day test session that begins on Tuesday (February 15).
Mike di Meglio
“This has been a really positive test and the bike has improved so much during these three days that I am very, very happy. I leave the circuit with a good lap time and we have started to understand the bike and what my needs are and what I like for the future. This makes me very happy as I already have a good feeling with the bike and the Tech 3 Racing Team after this first test. We were working on the balance of the bike and I feel we are definitely making big progress in the direction I want. We have six more days of testing now, starting next week in Estoril and I am sure we can find more improvements. We only used a standard engine in Valencia and we don’t know what engine our rivals had. But I am already better than my time at the last test in Valencia and I can feel that the bike has very good potential.”
“This test was very important and I learned a lot. It was my first time with the 2011 bike and we worked a lot on the geometry to find a good balance. It was hard work, but a great learning process as we tried many different solutions that helped me understand what happens to the bike when we make changes and how big the differences can be. It is scary that we only have six more days of testing until the season starts, but as we found a good direction with the bike in Valencia, I am confident. I improved my time by 1.4 seconds compared to November, so it shows that we did a very good job. I am happy with my team and we work together very well and I have to thank them for their efforts. Now we go straight to Estoril, but it looks like the weather forecast is not so positive. I hope we will have as much dry track time as possible to help us build on the progress we made in Valencia.”
[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Tech 3 Racing]
Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com