British rider Scott Redding ended the first pre-season test for the 2013 Moto2 world championship in Valencia by setting the seventh fastest time in a three-day session dominated by Spanish talent.
The Marc VDS Racing rider logged a best time of 1.35.293 to finish 0.716s behind pre-season title favourite Pol Espargaro, who led the way with a quickest lap of 1.34.577.
Former 125GP world champion's Nicolas Terol and Julian Simon were second and third respectively with Jordi Torres completing a Spanish domination on his way to the fourth best time.
Redding was just over 0.3s outside of the top three while he got accustomed to the new 2013 Kalex frame he will race in his fourth season in the ultra-competitive Moto2 class this year.
Redding, who is being backed by many to mount a serious title challenge this season, told MCN: “It has been a good test and I was sort of taking things easy, just checking a few things with the bike and just getting back up to speed.
For me the new chassis wasn’t a big difference compared to last year but it has definitely got a lot more set-up options on it. I actually went back to a similar setting from what I had last year because that felt the best for me. There are more options to try but with the track conditions like they were in Valencia we ended with a similar setting to what I was running at the back end of last year.
I was pretty happy with how the bike felt last year and with a similar set-up it still seems to be working this year on the new chassis. Before we went back to the old setting I was having a lot of skipping on the brakes and locking the front but I managed to get some feeling back and also better on the entry to the corner.”
Redding said he wasn’t too fussed to be down in seventh on the timesheets and he is confident he can close the gap to Espargaro when the Moto2 field resumes its pre-season preparations in Jerez next week.
He added: “I’m not really too fussed about the times at this test. You never know what tyres people are using and now this circuit has been resurfaced you only get five laps out of a tyre, so it becomes a bit like a dash for cash for some people. Next week in Jerez is when I’ll start pushing the limits a bit and try and find the maximum out of the bike.”
Rookie Danny Kent had a tough start to 2013 after he ended the test down in 24th position on the Tech 3 Racing’s Mistral 610 machine.
The 19-year-old escaped unhurt from a crash on the second day to end the test with a personal best lap of 1.37.378, which left him 2.753s off Espargaro’s benchmark.
Fellow rookie and reigning Moto3 world champion Sandro Cortese was also over two seconds off the best pace, the German setting a best of 1.36.733 to finish 21st.
Spanish-based Brit Kyle Smith was one place further behind in Kent in 25th after he set a fastest time of 1.37.378.
For more from Redding, see the February 20 issue of Motor Cycle News.