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After a number of private test days and sessions for the Moto2™ field in the last few weeks, the time has come for the first Official Test of the year – with all present and accounted for, and the timesheets leaving nowhere to hide.
It’s Idemitsu Honda Team Asia rider Takaaki Nakagami who has been making the most headlines during private testing, as the Japanese rider has reigned the upper echelons of the timesheets - with EG0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli hot on his heels as Kalex kicked off track action on top. Morbidelli’s teammate, 2014 Moto3™ World Champion Alex Marquez, is also looking to join the fight at the front this season as he recovers from arm pump issues and subsequent surgery, ready to better his first podium finish in Moto2™ at MotorLand last season.
Another key protagonist in the 2016 Championship battle was Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten). The 2005 125 World Champion won races in succession for the first time in his career in 2016, and is looking to go one better than runner up this season – no longer a dark horse and now an expected key figure in the fight at the front. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) will also be one to watch. Both Baldassari and teammate Luca Marini were well up the timesheets during private testing in Valencia and Jerez, and with ever more experience for the Italians, the Forward Racing team really do look to move forward once again in 2017.
A more unknown prospect for the season is reigning Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder. Binder got off to a difficult start in Moto2™ as the South African crashed in Valencia and broke his arm, but having been able to recently get back on the bike and do a good three day private test ahead of joining the intermediate class ranks at the Official Test in Jerez, Binder will be eager for more mileage as he and teammate Miguel Oliveira gear up the new KTM chassis for battle.
Suter are back to full force with a bang for 2017, too. Dynavolt Intact GP pairing Sandro Cortese and Marcel Schrotter switch to the new Swiss machines, as do 2015 Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent and GP winner Dominique Aegerter at Kiefer Racing. With both teams reporting good preseason sensations, they will be hoping to get in the mix with the 2016 frontrunners.
Three days of testing at the Circuito de Jerez kick off on March 8th for Moto2™ and Moto3™, with one further test at Qatar then lined up before the lights go out on 2017.
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