Fernandez and Lowes set for strong final showdown
The final Q2 session of the 2021 Moto2 World Championship ended in positive fashion for the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team, with Augusto Fernandez qualifying on the front row and Sam Lowes claiming a heroic top 10 on the grid in Valencia
- Blazing sunshine and warm autumn temperatures of 21 degrees provided perfect conditions for Fernandez and Lowes to play lead roles in an incredibly tense and close 15-minute Q2 session at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit.
- Less than 0.3s covered the top 13 riders on the grid for the season-ending 25-lap race, which is due to start at 1220pm local time in Spain.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 3rd, 1’35.026, 9 laps
- Day two in Valencia proved to be very productive for Spaniard Fernandez, who demonstrated excellent race pace in FP3 before a hot time attack lap of 1’35.291 placed him third and just 0.079s off top spot.
- Fernandez was in top form again in the decisive Q2 session and he secured a third front row start in the last five races with a 1’35.026 just the narrow margin of 0.070s away from a sensational pole position ahead of his final race for Elf Marc VDS Racing.
“A top three would be the perfect way to finish the season”
“I’m very happy to be starting my last race for the Team on the front row. In FP3 this morning I didn’t have the best feeling with a new rear tyre in the time attack. But we made another step this afternoon because I was able to set my best time of the weekend and that was very important to help me being on the front row. We were a little bit scared about the changes that we made because we were already quite strong this morning. But it shows the great work my crew did to help me get this front row because I was obviously stronger with the new rear tyre in Q2. My race pace is even better than my speed in the time attack and I feel ready to be fighting for the podium. The key will be the start and not losing too much time in the first half of the race because we’ve shown several times this season, we’re one of the strongest in the last laps. A top three tomorrow would be the perfect way to finish this season and end my relationship with the Team in the best possible way.”
/// SAM LOWES: 10th, 1’35.179, 9 laps
- Lowes showed incredible fighting spirit this morning to block out the pain and discomfort of right leg injuries suffered in a heavy crash yesterday to go directly into Q2 with a lap of 1’35.322.
- The Briton excelled again in Q2 and improved by another 0.2s but lap times were so close that a best lap of 1’35.179, which was only 0.223s off pole position, was only good enough for a fourth row start.
“I want to enjoy the race and finish with a strong result”
“You always want to do a little bit better than starting P10 for the last race of the year but I’m only two-tenths off pole position and I can’t be disappointed considering how I feel on the bike. My pace is quite strong, and the good news is the pain in my foot doesn’t get worse and that’s positive for the race. I’m still struggling a little bit and I’m not expecting too much given how I feel. But I still feel I can have a nice race and be in a battle. The bike is working well and with a good start there’s no reason for me not to be competitive. Tyre management will be important like always, but I think I can manage that. There is a drop, but I did my best time on my last lap in Q2, so that’s something positive too. I just want to enjoy it and try and finish the season with a strong result.”