Pedro Acosta, reigning Moto3 Champ has just topped the timesheets at the Official Moto2 test at Portimão.
This time last year, most MotoGP fans had never heard of Pedro Acosta. Plenty of them have now though. And the few that haven’t, soon will. Because after setting the Red Bull Rookies Cup on fire in 2020, winning the championship in dominating fashion, he only went and won the 2021 Moto3 World Championship in his rookie year. Now, the 17-year-old Spaniard’s got his sights on the Moto2 World Championship, and after seeing him top the time sheets at the official preseason test in Portimão, you’d be a fool to bet against him.
Acosta, who’ll be starting his debut Moto2 season with Red Bull KTM Ajo (the same team that he raced for when he won the Moto3 Championship, and the team that won the 2021 Moto2 Championship with Remy Gardner); the lad’s in good hands. Red Bull KTM Ajo won 13 out of 18 rounds last year, so they know what they’re doing, and they know how to win Moto2 races.
Whether they win Moto2 races by employing the best riders, or engineering the best motorcycle is up for debate. But the fact remains that if you want to be a Moto2 Champion, the Ajo pit box isn’t a bad one to be in.
Day one of the official test (Saturday) saw Jake Dixon top the timesheets on the GASGAS Aspar Team Kalex, with a best time of 1:43.169. On day two, it was Aron Canet’s turn to lead the standings with his 1:41.892 lap, on his Flexbox HP40 Kalex. Dixon and Canet have both got a few years’ experience in Moto2, so it was no real surprise to see them at the sharp end.
Acosta, who’s only really finding his feet in Moto2 probably shouldn’t have been at the top of the time sheets. But he was. And not only that, he was setting a blisteringly fast pace. In session two of day three, he posted a 1:41.552 lap to not only go fastest of the day but fastest of the entire test. And fastest all time because he’s absolutely smashed last years all-time lap record of 1:42.447, set by Remy Gardner.
To go almost a second (0.895s) faster than last year’s World Champion is an impressive enough feat as it is. But to do that in your first official test, in your rookie year as a Moto2 rider is nothing short of unbelievable. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Pedro Acosta is a seriously talented rider, and one that, if you ask me, has what it takes to go all the way.
Every now and then a rider comes along like Valentino Rossi, or Marc Marquez and takes motorcycle racing to another level. I’ve got a feeling we might have another one of those riders on our hands with Pedro Acosta. I know he’s only 17 and it’s still early days, but there’s no denying the kid’s talent.
Can Acosta win the 2022 Moto2 World Championship? Don’t bet against it.