After almost four months it was finally there again. At the Jerez circuit, Bo Bendsneyder and Jesko Raffin’s NTS Moto2 machines were stored out of the box in which they were put in Qatar in early March. The world championship was resumed with two forty-minute test sessions.
It did not go by itself. The conditions in the south of Spain in mid-July cannot be compared with the conditions in the test in February, or with the conditions in a normal Grand Prix in early May. “It is baking hot,” said NTS RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen. “It is around 40 degrees Celsius outside and the track temperature rises above 55 degrees. We have never experienced that here, so we had to deal with issues that we would otherwise not have here.”
Jesko Raffin drove his best time of the day in the slightly less warm conditions at the end of the morning: 1.44.230. Bo Bendsneyder was able to improve his time in the scorching heat at the end of the afternoon and set 1.44.095. That was not what NTS RW Racing GP had hoped for, but Janssen is happy with the data and is hopeful that most of the problems will be solved for Friday.
“It takes getting used to for everyone, in a first test again after long months of nothing. And certainly with this heat. We had to drastically change the settings, but in combination with some ‘rustiness’ for the riders, who have stood still for months, and difficult communication – it has always been a lot of noise in the box, but with mouth masks and plastic caps on it does not make communication any easier – so it was a difficult day. Fortunately, we have a day to analyse all the data well and to see what we have to do to make it work in the practice sessions on Friday.”
Bo Bendsneyder: “It is nice to be able to ride on the NTS again, but it was indeed a difficult day. We have done a lot of work, but there is still a lot to do. I lacked a bit of confidence with the front of the machine, but with all the information we have gathered today, I am confident that the team and I will be able to make the step on Friday.”
Jesko Raffin: “It’s great to be able to ride again after four months! It was not easy. We mainly used the morning session to get used to riding again and regain a bit of feeling with the bike. That was actually quite nice. In the second session we started on used tires, but when we switched to new tires I didn’t feel good with the brakes. The team worked hard to solve those problems, but it’s not easy for them either, in this heat with masks and plastic caps covering the face.”