(MENAFN - The Peninsula) QMMF Racing Team rider Anthony West and his new team-mate Roman Ramos opened the new Moto2 World Championship season with a successful three-day-test at Valencia.
The 32-year-old West, who scored podium finishes in 2012 and who is determined to battle his way back to the top of the category in the new season, tested the latest version of his Speed Up prototype with an -hlins suspension system for the very first time and achieved promising results, especially with the feeling for the front end of his bike.
Ramos, 23, from the Spanish town of Santa Mara de Cayn, took the three days as an opportunity to get accustomed to his new bike and to a whole new environment. Ramos rode his first Moto2 races back in 2010, but joined the World Championship only with occasional wild card entries. He successfully competed in last year's Spanish Moto2 Championship to confront his first full Moto2 Grand Prix season in 2014.
"This is our first test with the new bike and it was very interesting and positive. I expected the bike to feel more strange, because it is so new and quite different to last year's bike. But it felt quite comfortable to jump straight on and ride," West said.
"Of course, since everything is new, we had to start from scratch with the settings. We changed to -hlins suspension for this year, which created a few problems on the first day. There were a lot of things to work on, but at the end of the day, I started to feel comfortable.
"The main difference from last year's bike is the feeling on the front, which is a little bit easier. The character of the bike is still the same and we still have a few issues with turning, but the feeling for the front, which was always difficult to get last year, has improved. I think it is a little bit more forgiving. At this stage, the lap times are not a true reflection of what is happening out there, because different teams use different engines. There are a lot of riders out there that are usually slower than me, but when we go to the straights, they would just pull away from me. Another funny thing was that, we got a letter to say that everybody should use the tyres that were allocated from Dunlop. That means there were some other teams that used special tyres that were not in this allocation. That's another reason why you can't trust what the times are. Only in the last test we will get a better indication where everyone really stands," West added.
"All in all, things went quite well. My lap times weren't overwhelmingly good, but we managed to make progress and get quicker by a few fractions of a second every day. The atmosphere in the team is great, my technicians are very professional and are doing a fantastic job on the bike. As we get to know each other better and better, things will improve further," Ramos said.
"It was not an easy start, because I didn't know the bike and the tyres, both were completely different to what I had in the Spanish Championship last year. Considering this, it was a very positive test. We have a lot of data to analyse and to build on for the next test in Jerez, and we tried many things that will help us in the future. It was important to get as many laps under my belt with the new bike and tyres as possible. There is still a lot of time left to push and to go for good lap times. I am really looking forward to the next test because I like the Jerez circuit a lot and I am confident that we will have a good set-up there. My goal is to improve, to be a bit more in the middle of things and to get more accustomed to everything.
"In the past, I had occasional wild card entries in the Moto2 world championship, but they were always on different bikes, so things were complicated. It's never easy to adapt to a new bike and a whole new environment in only one weekend. What I noticed over these three days is how fast everybody is going in this class and how well prepared all the riders are. This doesn't come as a surprise to me because I watched all the Moto2 races with keen interest and I noticed even on television how quick the pace is. At the moment, I am losing a few metres in every corner, which at the end adds up to one and a half seconds per lap. My first aim is to reduce the gap to one second, but I'm well aware that this last second to the top will be the most difficult one. But we will work hard and I will give everything to get as close as possible to the top in the shortest possible time!"