Alex Márquez sets hot pace in baking Buriram
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Alex Márquez battled baking hot conditions in Buriram today to secure fifth place on the opening day timesheets in Thailand, with Xavi Vierge lapping close to the top 10.
- The first of four overseas races in the space of five weeks got off to a hot and humid start in Buriram today, with temperatures peaking an energy-sapping 31 degrees.
- Márquez and Vierge opted to work exclusively on their race settings this morning and both posted competitive times without pushing for an eye-catching fast time.
- With tropical thunderstorms predicted for tomorrow, the main goal of FP2 was to claim a provisional place in Q2, and it was a task completed by Márquez when he clocked the fourth quickest time in the final session of the day.
Alex Márquez: 5th, 1:36.033, 39 laps, 178 km
- Márquez made solid progress throughout a hot and humid opening day and a best lap of 1:36.733 in FP1 was only 0.3s outside of the top three while he worked on rear tyre durability with Dunlop’s soft compound option.
- Márquez was a main contender for top spot throughout the second 45-minute session while he experimented with revised suspension and gearbox settings, which helped him lap 0.7s faster compared to this morning.
- His best lap of 1:36.033 placed him fifth on the combined standings and he was only 0.077s behind Luca Marini’s new all-time lap record.
“We made an important step with my rhythm for the race”
“Today was like all the other tracks where we have to adapt the setting of the bike compared to last year with the new Triumph engine. FP1 is almost totally dedicated to understanding the best set-up for the gearbox and you need to get a reference on track quickly because the performance with this engine is quite different to what we used in the past. We made some changes to the set-up for FP2 and we made an important step with my rhythm for the race. We need to keep on this path tomorrow but in general it was very positive today. It was very hot but physically I felt strong and I’m ready for a strong weekend.”
Xavi Vierge: 22nd, 1:36.578, 38 laps, 173 km.
- Vierge completed 18 laps in FP1 this morning and rather than focus on his outright speed he concentrated on finding a comfortable set-up with his Kalex chassis during the 45-minute session.
- Vierge made a huge step forward in FP2 and he was almost one second faster compared to this morning with a best lap of 1:36.569.
- The Spaniard’s effort went unrewarded though and he ended the day in 22nd position but less than 0.3s away from the top 10, with the top 24 riders in FP2 split by just 0.9s.
“The most positive point of the day is my race pace”
“I can’t say I am happy, but I am satisfied with the day as we made a big improvement this afternoon. The most positive point of the day is my race pace, which we worked on a lot. That was an area I struggled with at the last race and I am fully focused to improve my pace for the last laps. We made a good step today and now tomorrow we need to concentrate on being stronger for one fast lap. Everybody showed today they can make a big step with a new rear tyre and we have to be able to do the same, particularly when the times are so tight.”