Alex Márquez storms to sensational front row in Austin
Team Estrella Galicia Marc VDS rider Alex Márquez ended a weather-hit day of Moto2 action in brilliant fashion by securing his first front row start of 2019, with Xavi Vierge determined to deliver a strong result from 20th on the grid at the Circuit of the Americas.
- Thunderstorms and heavy rain meant this morning’s FP3 session was initially delayedby over an hour and track time reduced to 20 minutes. Lightning strikes in the area surrounding COTA meant FP3 was eventually cancelled on safety grounds.
- Conditions drastically improved for Q1 and Q2, with Márquez and Vierge taking to the track in sunny but windy conditions for the 15-minute sessions this afternoon.
- Márquez came second within 0.058s of taking his first pole position of the season, while Vierge narrowly missed out on advancing from Q1 to qualify on row seven.
Alex Márquez: 2nd, 2:10.933, +0.058, 7 laps, 39 km.
- Having set the third fastest time in FP2 yesterday afternoon, Márquez advanced straight into Q2.
- He superbly mastered a fierce and unpredictable wind in Q2 to fight for pole position throughout an absorbing session.
- A faultless final lap of 2’10.933 fired the Spaniard into second position behind pole setter Marcel Schrotter, as Márquez secured his first front row start of the year.
- Confidence is now high that the 22-year-old can claim back-to-back podium having taken third in the previous round in Argentina.
“The podium is a good target but if I feel good I will push for the victory”
“It was a difficult day for everybody with the bad weather conditions this morning and it was not easy to go directly into the qualifying session. The conditions this afternoon were very tricky because the wind was so strong and the grip was low. I think we managed the situation in a good way and we improved the bike from yesterday. The objective was to be on the front row and we achieved that. I need the Warm-up to work on being smoother and more consistent because I think that is going to be the key for the race. Like in Argentina, the rider who makes the least mistakes will be strongest. If I can be constant I know I have a great chance but we need to finish and collect maximum points. The podium is a good target but if I feel good I will push for the victory.”
Xavi Vierge: 20th, 2:12.516, +2.028, 7 laps, 39 km.
- The cancelled FP3 session prevented Vierge from being able to battle for a place in Q2 after he just missed out on a top 14 spot in yesterday’s second free practice.
- Low grip levels and a strong wind meant Vierge was unable to find his usual fast rhythm in Q1
- He fought hard to secure the top four finish required to progress into Q2, but a lap 2’12.516 saw him miss out by the narrow margin of under 0.3s.
“With the long straight and hard braking zones, I’m sure I can make a good comeback”
“It was a really difficult day. The crash in FP2 when we tried a new setting meant I missed out on a lot of track time to gather some information. Going into straight into Q1 my feeling with the bike was quite difficult. I couldn’t find my rhythm because the condition of the track was completely different compared to yesterday. I couldn’t go into Q2 and I need to work hard with my team to find a better feeling with the bike. In Qatar and Argentina, we made a good job until qualifying but had difficulties for the race, so I hope here in Austin it is the opposite. With the long straight and hard braking zones, I am sure I can make a good comeback.”