Alex Márquez powers to stunning top three in Austin practice
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Alex Márquez claimed a crucial top three place on the opening day practice at the Circuit of the Americas, while an unlucky crash in FP2 prevents Xavi Vierge from demonstrating his full potential.
- Sunny but breezy conditions greeted Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS when round three of the 2019 Moto2 World Championship commenced at the unique 5.5km Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
- Key focus of the two 45-minute sessions was finding a chassis and suspension set-upto manage the tricky bumpy sections of COTA.
- Both riders knew it was essential to finish inside the top 14 today, with unstable weather predicted for Austin tomorrow that may prevent improved lap times in the battle to reach Q2. Márquez, third, managed to do so while Vierge, due to an unfortunate crash couldn't, finishing the day in 18th position.
Alex Márquez: 3rd, 2:10.580, 30 laps, 149 km.
- Working on finding the optimum gearbox set-up, Márquez set the sixth fastest time of 2’11.592 in in FP1 this morning, which was less than 0.2s outside of the top three.
- On a cleaner surface with improved grip available in FP2, Márquez lapped a second faster in FP2 to finish in third position, just 0.090s behind Tom Luthi.
- After making such a strong start, the 73 is now optimistic he can challenge for his first front row start of the season.
“It was a good day and we are working in the correct way”
“This track is so bumpy that it makes it difficult to be constant and you have to be smart to be near the top. I feel like I made too many mistakes today because I wasn’t as constant as I wanted to be and I need to improve in the second sector where I am losing the most time. It was a good day and we are working in the correct way to find the best set-up. Hopefully tomorrow will be dry but it looks like it will be raining, so it was important to be inside the top 14.”
Xavi Vierge: 18th, 2:11.835, 19 laps, 105 km.
- Xavi Vierge shrugged off the disappointment of his pre-race retirement in Argentina to lap comfortably lapping inside the top 10 this morning.
- A crash at turn 2 early in FP2 cost the uninjured Vierge crucial track time, but his crew did an outstandingly fast repair job to get him back into the action for the final minutes.
- The 97 instantly set his fastest time of the day and he is confident in dry or wet conditions tomorrow that he can fight for a top grid position ahead of the 18-lap race.
“My team did an amazing job to get me back out for the end of the session”
“FP1 was good even if the conditions weren’t perfect because each year the bumps at this track increase. We started with the base set-up from Argentina and I felt good. We made some big changes to the bike for FP2 and immediately I felt better. I went out last to avoid traffic but on the second lap while I was close to another rider I hit the big bump in turn two and crashed. It is a pity because the bike was badly damaged and I must say a big thanks to my team because they did an amazing job to get me back out for the end of the session. Straightaway I was faster than this morning and now I hope FP3 is dry so I can fight for a place in Q2. If not then I will have more chance to understand the bike in the wet but I am positive and calm.”