Fernandez and Lowes enjoy fast Friday in Catalunya
Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Augusto Fernandez and Sam Lowes fought for the top three in both Free Practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today.
- The Elf Marc VDS Racing Team’s 200th Grand Prix could not have got off to a better start when Fernandez led Lowes for a dream 1-2 at the end of an FP1 session run under cloudy skies but with temperatures still hitting a warm 25 degrees.
- Track temperature increased by 15 degrees for FP2 but Fernandez and Lowes were still able to set competitive lap times to comfortably book provisional places in tomorrow’s Q2.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 2nd, 1:43.703, 32 laps
- Fernandez used the knowledge and data gathered during a recent private test at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya to lead FP1 with a stunning lap of 1:43.703 that put him clear of the chasing pack by the big margin of 0.150s.
- The 23-year-old crashed uninjured at turn 12 shortly before the halfway stage of FP2 but he was still able to complete a positive first day in second position on the combined standings.
“I know I can do well this weekend”
“I immediately felt very good on the bike this morning after the test we did here before Mugello. I felt good at the test, and I know I can do well this weekend and I quickly found a good feeling in FP1, and it was a good boost to be fastest. It was nice to already have a base set-up to work with and that allowed me to try a few things with my riding style. I had a small crash in FP2 that was completely my fault but nothing to worry about because I wasn’t even pushing. We struggled a little more in the afternoon with the extra temperature and we have to pay attention to this because it could be similar conditions on Sunday.”
/// SAM LOWES: 3rd, 1:43.853, 38 laps
- The Briton started the weekend in excellent fashion and a lap of 1’43.853 on his 19th and final lap slotted him into second position behind impressive teammate Fernandez this morning.
- Lowes was one of only three riders who posted times in the 1’43 bracket in both sessions today and having finished third quickest overall, the 30-year-old is confident he can challenge for a fifth front row in seven races tomorrow.
“I believe I’ve shown good pace”
“I always enjoy riding at this track and last year I had a very strong race, so it’s always a positive feeling to return to a circuit where you know you can be strong. I’m happy with today and while some other guys have shown they have good pace, I believe I do too. I improved a bit this afternoon even though the track conditions weren’t ideal. We had a look at two different directions today with the set-up and we can now look at the data tonight to check which one gives me the best chance of being right up there again.”