Elf Marc VDS Racing set for strong battle in Portimao
Augusto Fernandez and Sam Lowes qualified fifth and eighth respectively for tomorrow’s 23-lap Moto2 battle at the challenging Algarve International Circuit in Portugal.
- Sunny but windy conditions dominated qualifying day at the 4.59km Portimao track, with Fernandez and Lowes showing they have podium potential going into the penultimate round of 2021 tomorrow.
- The 17th round of the season for the Moto2 field completes the race schedule tomorrow, with lights out at 1430pm local time.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 5th, 1’42.616
- Fernandez made a positive start to the Saturday action on Portugal’s Algarve coast when a lap of 1’42.757 put him in fourth position at the end of this morning’s FP3 session.
- The Spaniard and his crew were rewarded for their fantastic effort to minimalise the impact of missing the majority of FP1 yesterday when a lap of 1’42.616 put him just over 0.1s away from the front row.
“I’m optimistic I can be in the battle for the podium”
“Qualifying was positive for me because I still feel like we are playing catch up after we missed so much of FP1 yesterday. Missing one session at this level is so vital because it costs you crucial time to work on the set-up. We’ve been working hard to get closer to the front, and I can’t be disappointed to be on the second row. I don’t think I put in my strongest laps in Q2 because in the second and third sector I kept encountering traffic and once the best performance of the tyre has gone it becomes very difficult to improve. The key now is to decide which rear tyre option to choose for the race. The soft has very good performance but it doesn’t have the durability, so the final decision will be critical. I think fighting for the win will be difficult tomorrow but I’m definitely optimistic that I can be in the battle for the podium.”
/// SAM LOWES: 8th, 1’42.701
- British rider Lowes finished in a strong sixth place this morning while working on a set-up to give him more confidence and feeling in the final phase of braking.
- Lowes was unable to exploit the full potential of a new soft Dunlop rear tyre in the decisive Q2 session, but he was still able to set his fastest lap of the weekend to line up from the middle of the third row of the grid in eighth position.
“I believe I have podium pace tomorrow”
“I’m a bit disappointed to be on the third row but the race is tomorrow. When I put the soft tyre in this morning at the end of FP3 I didn’t feel completely comfortable with the balance of the bike. I struggled to understand where I could push, and it is never good to qualify down in eighth place. I feel good with my race pace, and I still feel I can be strong. I still need to find a better way to stop the bike in the last part of the braking zone but I’m expecting to be competitive in the race. I certainly believe I have the pace for the podium tomorrow with the hard rear tyre and be strong in the last few laps.”