Valencia Day 2: Baldassarri blasts to the top

Lorenzo Baldassarri made a good start to his 2018 Moto2™ campaign as he switches to Pons HP40, with the Italian topping Wednesday’s timesheets at the Official Moto2™ and Moto3™ test at Valencia with a 1:36.149 in the final session.

But behind his Kalex, KTM were close – with Miguel Oliveira, the winner of the final three races of 2017, slotting into second for the Austrian factory, 0.185 down. The top three was completed by Italian veteran Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team), the fastest man in the second session, with Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) taking fourth as he settles in to life on a Kalex this season.

It was a damp start to proceedings on Day 2, but conditions improved by the afternoon and finally the intermediate class contenders could get out on track for some good sessions of running. After Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) went quickest on Day 1 – and was the only rider to set a time – it was a much fuller timesheet on Wednesday.

Behind the fastest four riders within half a second at the top, fifth saw Marcel Schrötter complete the top five for Dynavolt Intact GP, just ahead of fastest Speed Up rider Fabio Quartararo. The Frenchman, moving to the team and chassis this year, split the Dynavolt Intact GP team as he was 0.011 faster than new arrival Xavi Vierge.

Hector Barbera, who joined proceedings late after feeling unwell, was P8 on Day 2 as he takes on a whole new challenge. The Spaniard moves to the intermediate class after a long stint in the premier class and has never ridden a Moto2™ bike – having competed previously in the 250 World Championship.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was ninth quickest to give KTM two representatives in the top ten, ahead of Isaac Viñales (SAG Team).

Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team) was the fastest rider on track to never to have previously competed in the intermediate class, just ahead of Joe Roberts on the new NTS chassis. American Roberts, who moves up from the FIM CEV Repsol Moto2™ European Championship, was the quickest of the two NTS RW Racing GP riders as the Japanese manufacturer debuts on the world stage. His teammate Steven Odendaal was P17.

Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was thirteenth quickest despite suffering a late crash, just ahead of another man to take a late tumble on Day 2: Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing). The fastest fifteen was completed by the second Speed Up on track – 2015 Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent on his return to the intermediate class.

Rookie Bo Bendsneyder (Tech 3 Racing) completed his day in P16 ahead of Odendaal, with Aegerter and Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) slotting in behind him. Stefano Manzi and Eric Granado ended the first day in P20 and P21 respectively, with the new Forward Racing Team line up settling in to life with Suter after switching to the Swiss manufacturer over the winter.