From MotoGP to Moto2: The experienced heads

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discovering moto2 : ex motogp riders
Friday, 16 April 2010

The riders with MotoGP campaigns under their belts are amongst the favourites for the title in the new intermediate category, with a return to the premier class an added incentive.

The new Moto2 class got off to a rousing start in Qatar last weekend, and the action in the very first race provided a taste of just what is to come in 2010. With the same specification Honda 600cc 4-stroke engine and Dunlop tyres being used by the entire category and only the chassis free from limitation, there is an equality about Moto2 that promises a great competition in the race to become World Champion.

Those riders who have experienced the premier class are naturally amongst the favourites for the Moto2 crown, and the list of names with MotoGP races in their armoury is made up of Alex de Angelis (RSM Team Scot), Toni Elías (Gresini Racing) Niccolò Canepa (RSM Team Scot), Yuki Takahashi (Tech3 Racing), Gabor Talmacsi (Fimmco Speed Up) Anthony West (MZ Racing Team) and Roberto Rolfo (Italtrans STR).

The competitiveness was underlined in Qatar however with the triumph of Shoya Tomizawa, the young Technomag-CIP rider, with Alex Debón and Jules Cluzel joining him on the podium. None have premier class experience and Elías and Rolfo were the only ex-MotoGP names inside the top five. The Spaniard, who started the race from pole position, gave his view on how premier class experience could play a part.

“Everybody wants to win the first Moto2 World Championship and there are a lot of fast riders, so it will be difficult but fun for everybody,” said Elías, who rode to an admirable fourth in Qatar despite carrying injuries from pre-season. “The MotoGP experience is definitely a good thing, but some things are more difficult, like the line of Moto2 is closer to that of 250cc.”

De Angelis added: “I think it’s difficult to know what I could have achieved in MotoGP, but obviously at this moment I am enjoying Moto2 because I am strong. I feel good with my team, so for the time being I would say I have made the right choice.”

Another rider with vast experience is the 28 year-old Hungarian Talmacsi, who believes that the Moto2 category offers him another great chance to display his ability in his 11th season in World Championship racing.

“I have ridden in all the categories,” he said. “I was 125cc World Champion, I had a few races in 250cc, then I moved into MotoGP. Now in Moto2 I believe in myself, I can show I am competitive on 4-stroke machinery.”

It is not just the riders who are bringing their knowledge across from MotoGP, as there is a wealth of experience on the technical side of Moto2 as well. Takahashi is benefitting from the expertise of Gary Reynders – the man who worked with both Colin Edwards and James Toseland in the premier class – in the Tech3 garage.

“It was a good challenge to come here in Moto2 with our brand new bike that we have built ourselves, and then with a rider that we know was fast in 250cc,” said Reynders. “Here we have no electronics anymore but my background is in suspensions and chassis, so I think this will help the team and the rider a lot in understanding what we need to go fast.”

On the other side of the Tech3 box Jorge Lorenzo’s Team Manager from last year Daniele Romagnoli is imparting his knowledge to Raffaele de Rosa.

”The major difference is that the technology that we have here for Moto2 is far from that in MotoGP. It’s very important to save money, to save costs. We are using production-like material, especially with the engine and electronics, so this is the major difference,” said Romagnoli.

British teenager Scott Redding of the Marc VDS Racing Team is another who will be benefitting from some expert advice. Pete Benson, who helped Nicky Hayden to the MotoGP World Championship title in 2006, is crew chief for Redding’s challenge.

“Basically it’s almost a little bit simpler in some ways,” observed Benson. “You don’t have the level of electronics you had in MotoGP so certain kinds of problems that you used to fix with the electronics, you now have to try to figure out in other ways. The tyre rules are pretty much the same which makes it exciting, but I think it’s probably more back to basics rather than having all high tech electronics we used to have. That makes it interesting.”

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