Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders ready for strong showing in Spielberg
Augusto Fernandez and Sam Lowes will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Styria from sixth and seventh respectively after a positive qualifying day at the Spielberg track in Austria.
- Fernandez and Lowes finished just outside the top three in FP3 before battling a powerful wind in Q2 this afternoon on their way to securing places on the second and third row of the grid for the 25-lap race.
- Confident they have podium potential in a dry race, conditions could change dramatically on race day with a strong possibility of heavy rain falling when round 10 is scheduled to commence at 1220pm local time.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 6th, 1’29.005
- FP3 this morning took place in gloriously sunny conditions and Fernandez was the first rider of the weekend to break under the 1’29 barrier, with a super-fast lap of 1’28.908 putting him top of the chasing pack before he eventually finished fourth quickest.
- Fernandez fired in an impressive lap of 1’29.005 in Q2, despite an increase in track temperature to 32 degrees and a stronger wind, and the Spaniard was less than 0.2s away from clinching his first front row start of 2021.
“I’m confident we’ll be competitive if it’s wet or dry”
“I’ve got to be happy with the second row, even if we might have expected a bit more going into Q2. I struggled a little bit at the start, but I felt good and was still able to be fast even when the initial grip from the new rear tyre was dropping off. I had to slow for a yellow flag on my penultimate lap when I was improving and then I came across a slower rider on my last lap and that cost me time. I feel good with the bike, and I don’t think this sixth place shows our full potential. Second row is always the target for qualifying and we managed that, but now we must wait and see what happens with the weather. It looks like it will be totally different tomorrow and wet and that means we’ll start from zero. Our starting position is good and I’m confident we’ll be competitive if it’s wet or dry.”
/// SAM LOWES: 7th, 1’29.138
- The Briton put up another strong challenge for the top three this morning and he was one of only six riders to set a lap in the 1’28 bracket to advance directly into Q2.
- Striving to improve in the third sector throughout the day, the 30-year-old was satisfied with progress, and he is optimistic of being in the podium battle again at the 4.5km Austrian track.
“If it’s dry, we have the speed to be at the front”
“We were competitive again today and that’s important but to be honest there are some parts of the track where I’ve always struggled for some reason. Last year it was the third sector that was the only one I could do well, but this weekend I’m struggling a bit. If we can improve that for the race, I’m confident we can be strong. We’ve collected a lot of good information on different settings and now we must see what happens with the weather. It looks like the race could be wet, so we need to prepare for anything. But we have shown if it is dry, we have the speed to be at the front.”