Alex Márquez ready to fight for home race victory from front row
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Alex Márquez will launch his quest for home glory at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto from second position on the grid, with Xavi Vierge confident of mounting a strong challenge from row four.
- Qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix took place in cooler and cloudier conditions in Andalusia after the scorching weather experienced in FP1 and FP2 yesterday.
- Márquez was one of the top performers this morning to advance into Q2 after setting the second fastest time in a close FP3 that saw the top 23 riders split by less than one second.
- Vierge came through from Q1 in fourth place and then posted his best lap of the weekend in Q2 to finish just over 0.3s away from the front row.
Alex Márquez: 2nd, 1:41.273, 28 laps, 124 km.
- A stunning lap of 1’41.502 placed Márquez second in FP3 behind Remy Gardner, with the number 73 setting an impressively fast and constant pace in race trim.
- Having improved the electronics set-up for Q2, Márquez brilliantly improved his lap time to a 1’41.273 this afternoon. The Spaniard was just 0.091s away from Jorge Navarro’s pole time to secure afront row start for the second race in succession.
- The 73 cleverly employed a new strategy for the second 15-minute qualifying session, using two soft Dunlop rear tyres instead of the usual one to fight for pole position.
- With his race rhythm so fast and consistent, Márquez is confident he will be fighting to add to his 2017 Moto2 victory in Jerez during tomorrow’s 23-lap race.
“There is a good chance to take the victory”
“I am really happy to be on the front row for the second race in a row. Being strong in every qualifying was one of our main targets before the start of the season because that is where I struggled a little before. I am happy with the improvement and we did a different strategy this afternoon by using two soft rear tyres and the team did a great job to put the plan into action. I had strong race pace in FP3 and a great feeling on the bike and I think we have a good opportunity to fight at the front tomorrow. The lap times are close but in every session I have always been in the top five and that is very positive. I need to keep my head and be smart. There is a good chance to take the victory, but the key target is to finish and gain some important points for the Championship.”
Xavi Vierge: 12th, 1:41.660, 34 laps, 150 km.
- Vierge rode with increased confident in FP3 this morning with a lap time of 1’42.078 leaving him just 0.2s away from a place in Q2.
- The number 97 completed a faultless lap of 1’41.714 in Q1 to secure one of the crucial top four places required to participate in Q2.
- Vierge continued his constant improvement in Q2 when he lapped 0.1s faster again to come close to clinching a place inside the top six.
- He is now confident he can repeat his top six finish in Jerez last year when the lights go out at 12:20pm tomorrow afternoon for the Spanish Grand Prix.
“My rhythm is close to the fastest riders”
“After yesterday’s tough start I am really happy now because the team did an amazing job to improve my situation. We never gave up and worked hard and we made a big step forward today. I’m 12th but the lap times are very tight and my rhythm is close to the fastest riders and that will be important for tomorrow. With so little race time in Argentina and Austin after the bad luck it has been good here in Jerez to do many laps to get my pace back up to its normal level. Here in Jerez anybody can make one fast lap but the rhythm for the race is the most important thing and I’m confident in that area that we are competitive. It will be a long race with many riders fast but I feel well prepared and ready to fight until the last lap.”