Flawless Lowes makes it two poles from two
Another masterclass in Moto2 qualifying resulted in a second consecutive pole position for Sam Lowes in Qatar, while Augusto Fernandez made big strides with a strong tenth place.
- Track conditions were treacherous throughout the day with high winds buffeting riders all around the 5.4-km Losail International Circuit. It also blew a substantial amount of dust and sand onto the track, adding to the challenge for the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders.
- Sam Lowes and Augusto Fernandez have shown excellent potential all weekend and both riders automatically qualified for Saturday’s Q2 session via the top 14 (Lowes was 7th, Fernandez 13th) in the combined free practice standings.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ, 10th, 1’59.809
- Having made substantial changes to his bike setting on Friday, the 23-year-old confirmed his good feelings on qualifying day, posting the 12th fastest time in Saturday afternoon’s FP3.
- It was a solid qualifying performance for the rider from the Balearic Islands, who was inside the top ten places throughout the 15-minute session. Despite finding it difficult to maintain consistency due to the track conditions, Fernandez’s 1’59.809s was enough for 10th place, an 11-place improvement on last weekend.
“If we can maintain this speed then we will enjoy the race”
“It was a difficult day but I’m happy because we made a big step from yesterday. It seems like the direction we took on Friday is working. Now we’re not that far, and we’re getting closer. I’m happy to be in the top ten and to start from the fourth row tomorrow. We have to find something so I feel comfortable doing this pace. At the end I did just one lap and I was struggling a bit to keep it. But I talked to Sam and he found it hard to do that as well. Maybe the sand and the wind meant the tyre dropped a lot. If we can maintain this speed then I’m sure we will enjoy the race.”
/// SAM LOWES, 1st – 1’59.055
- After experimenting with bike set-up and the balance of his machine on Friday, the 30-year reverted to the settings used at round one on Saturday. The results were spectacular: a second pole position in as many weeks.
- Lowes’ best time – a 1’59.055 – was his fourth lap in a seven-lap run. It was enough for first place by 0.137s. This was not only the 13th pole position of Lowes’ grand prix career, it was also his fifth for the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team and his 11th front row start in the past 16 races.
“I feel we have a strong bike for the whole race”
“It was a hard session because of the wind. It wasn’t really my normal style, with some slow laps. But in the end it was difficult. I felt like I had to manage the situation well. When I did the good lap time, it was enough because it was easy to make a mistake in those conditions. The front row was the goal so to be on pole is nice and I feel we can fight tomorrow. For the race a lot depends on the wind. It will be hard to pull away if the wind is quite strong because the slipstream will help on the straight. The first 10-12 laps will be quite close and then the last seven will be crucial. I feel we have a strong bike for the whole race and I’m focusing on the last seven laps to make the difference to the other guys.”