Fernandez and Lowes make rapid return from summer break
Team Elf Marc VDS riders wasted no time in getting back up to speed after the long summer break to fight for the top three in both Free Practice sessions in Austria today
- Fernandez was second quickest and Lowes fifth on the timesheets in warm and sunny conditions that saw air temperature peak at 25 degrees this morning at the spectacular Spielberg track.
- Heavy rain disrupted the afternoon MotoGP session but by the time FP2 commenced for Moto2, Lowes and Fernandez were able to start on slick tyres and the pair once again finished together inside the top six.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 2nd, 1’29.195, 41 laps
- Fernandez ended a 21-lap stint in FP1 in fine style with a lap of 1’29.195 placing him in second position and just the tiny margin of 0.080s away from pacesetter Marco Bezzecchi.
- With rubber washed away by heavy early afternoon rain affecting grip levels for the majority of FP2, Fernandez was still able to set an impressive time of 1’29.415, but his best pace from this morning secured him second on the combined standings.
“I was competitive like before the summer break and that is important”
“It feels great to be back on the bike today and I have to say it was a good day for us. I was competitive like before the summer break and that is very important to keep the momentum going. We made a few changes to the bike for FP2 but honestly, I didn’t like them. Now we must analyse whether it was because of the track condition after so much fell just before our session or if it was the bike not helping us lap faster. But I’m feeling good and comfortable at this track and I hope to continue this level for the rest of the weekend.”
/// SAM LOWES: 4th, 1:29.351, 42 laps
- Lowes was a top three contender throughout FP1 and his personal best pace of 1’29.406 on his penultimate lap of 22 secured him an excellent fifth while working on geometry and gearbox settings.
- Despite a gusting wind and cooler air temperature of 22 degrees for FP2, Lowes was one of only 14 riders in the 30-strong field to improve his pace and a lap of 1’29.351 put him fourth on the final leader board.
“I feel good for tomorrow and look forward to a strong qualifying”
“It was nice to be back because after such a long break it feels quite strange to ride and you need a few laps to find the feeling again. I was happy to be fifth this morning and then second this afternoon because we had two very different bikes for the two sessions. We can now look at the data tonight and put together the best package together for tomorrow. We got quite lucky with the weather and though it was damp at the start of FP2, we had two mostly dry sessions and that helped us get through a lot of the work we had planned. I feel good for tomorrow and look forward to a strong performance in qualifying.”