Smith wraps up 125cc Andalucian visit on top
Emmi – Caffe Latte rider Thomas Luthi took full advantage of the sunny afternoon conditions in the final 250cc testing session on European soil before the start of the season, ending the day – and the test visit to Jerez – as
the quickest quarter litre class rider in attendance.
21 year-old Luthi came out on top with a best time of 1'43.208, on a day in which the riders enjoyed the benefits of a completely rain-free day. Conditions were a sharp contrast to the changeable weather experienced last weekend for the MotoGP Official Test and the two further days of intermittent showers in Andalucia .
The Swiss rider's hot lap was just over three tenths of a second off former 250cc World Champion Dani Pedrosa's circuit best lap record of 1'42.868, set in qualifying for the 2005 GP, whilst today's second fastest rider -Metis Gilera's Marco Simoncelli – lapped just 0.001s slower than Luthi.
Alvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar) was third on the timesheet, a further fourth tenths down on the pace, whilst Julian Simon (Repsol KTM), Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Red Bull KTM) all appeared in a top six riders of riders who each lapped under 1'44.
Bautista's team-mate and compatriot Hector Faubel finished seventh, but was taken to the Clinica Mobile after suffering a blow to his knee in a crash during the afternoon outing. However, his injuries are not serious and are not expected to amount to anything more than heavy bruising.
British youngster Bradley Smith finished this week's 125cc testing session at the head of the timesheet with a 1'47.820 lap time on the last day at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit.
The Oxfordshire teenager appears to be growing in confidence at every test session he undertakes with new team Polaris World after switching to a more competitive Aprilia package for what will be his third full World Championship season – and his time of 1'47.
820 put him ahead of his rivals on Thursday.
Although Smith could not match the sub-1'47 lap which saw him also top the test timesheets at Jerez in January – attributing the slightly slower pace today to a late afternoon breeze – he was the only single cylinder participant to go under the 1'48 mark in the second Thursday session.
Indeed, Smith was more than half a second ahead of second quickest rider Nicolas Terol (Jack & Jones WRB), whilst Raffaele de Rosa (Onde 2000 KTM), Mike di Meglio (Ajo Motorsport) and Sandro Cortese (Emmi – Caffe Latte) were all in the top five as Jerez finally produced sunny conditions.
After the next test dates on 28th & 29th February for the premier class competitors at the Losail International circuit, the 250cc and 125cc riders will themselves reconvene for night-time testing sessions of their own from 1st-3rd March at the desert track – ahead of the first GP of the season on 9th March, which of course also takes place in Qatar.
DORNA / CAPSIS International