Scott Redding bounced back from an early crash during the opening day of Moto2 testing at the Jerez circuit in Spain yesterday to set the fastest pace on board the Kalex frame he has switched to for 2012.
The 18-year-old lost the front at the fast Turn 7 in the morning session but escaped unhurt from the spill to set the pace with an impressive best lap of 1.42.9 in a 52-lap stint.
It was only the second time the Marc VDS Racing rider has tested the new Kalex chassis after he switched from the Suter MMXI frame at the end of last season, and the Gloucestershire teenager has made a seamless transition.
His best time was 0.4s faster than Pol Espargaro and a second quicker than Finnish team-mate Mika Kallio.
Redding blamed cold temperatures for the heavy fall at Turn 7 that caused extensive damage to his Kalex machine and he told MCN: “The crash certainly wasn’t the best way to start the day but the track was still a little bit cold. I went in there off the throttle the same as always but closed the front, so I’m guessing it was because of the cold track.
"It certainly wasn’t a temperature issue with the front tyre because I’d already done some laps. The speed was the same so maybe I was a tad off line or something.”
The fall did little to dampen Redding’s enthusiasm for the new Kalex frame that he’d previously ridden in two tests in Valencia that were badly disrupted by rain.
He added: “I am really happy with the bike. I’m starting to really bond with it and get a really good feeling.”
Gino Rea impressed again yesterday to set the fifth fastest time on the Gresini Moriwaki machine to finish with a 1.43.9. That was 0.1s quicker than Bradley Smith, who was getting in his first laps on the new 2012 Tech 3 Mistral 610 machine.
The Oxfordshire rider told MCN: “Already the 2012 bike feels better than the 2011 version. We didn’t change much on the setting at all. We just tried to understand that the bike was better, which it is, so that’s exciting news.”
Busiest man at the test on the opening day was former LCR Honda rider Toni Elias. The Spaniard is back in Moto2 with the Aspar squad after a nightmare 2011 and he completed 104 laps on the Suter MMXII frame.
He set a best time of 1.44.2 while last ever 125GP world champion Nicolas Terol ended with a 1.45.6.