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Antonelli sets pace on first day of testing

Antonelli sets pace on first day of testing

Italy’s Niccolo Antonelli was quickest as the opening Official Moto3™ Test of 2014 was staged at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo Circuit on Tuesday.

This week, the lightweight class of the World Championship has three days of track action at the Spanish venue, which back in November had hosted the nail-biting end to the season in which Maverick Viñales claimed the world title. The Spaniard was present today, but testing his Moto2™ bike, leaving the Moto3™ crown vacant.

Amid far cooler conditions than expected, Antonelli topped the timesheets for Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 with a leading lap time of 1’40.000. This was three and a half tenths of a second faster than second-placed Jack Miller on the leading Red Bull KTM Ajo machine, as he and team-mate Karel Hanika (the reigning Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion, 12th position) hoped for much better weather on Wednesday.

Romano Fenati was third, the Italian the leading rider for the new Sky Racing Team by VR46 outfit which is running KTM bikes and supported by multiple World Champion Valentino Rossi. Fourth was Isaac Viñales, the elder of the two Viñales cousins who is now riding for Team Calvo which carried Maverick to the 2013 title, while completing he top five was Danny Kent as the Englishman returned to Moto3™ with Husqvarna Factory Racing - a subsidiary company of KTM but which is set to follow its own path of development over the course of the season.

SIC-Ajo’s Hafiq Azmi ended the day sixth, as Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team by VR46) and Antonelli’s team-mate Enea Bastianini - who steps up from the Rookies Cup - completed the top eight. Efren Vazquez (Caretta Technology-RTG) and Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) were ninth and tenth, respectively. In the case of Oliveira, the Portuguese lost the front end which caused a crash at Turn 4, but he was generally pleased with both his new chassis and new engine.

In the meantime, Emilio Alzamora’s Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders continued the process of data collection as Alex Marquez (11th place) and Alex Rins (17th) switch from KTM to Honda machinery. Marc VDS Racing Team’s Livio Loi was 16th.

Moto3™ was sharing the anti-clockwise circuit with Moto2™ for four and half hours during the day, but each category also had one hour of track time to itself.

Testing resumes from 10am local time on Wednesday (GMT +1).

See full Moto3™ results following the opening day in Valencia

Moto3, 2014

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