Learning day for Morbidelli and Lüthi in Argentina
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Tom Lüthi faced a steep learning curve on the opening day of free practice for Sunday’s Grand Prix Argentina.
Both riders spent time adapting to their Honda RC213V machines as they made their first appearances in MotoGP at the low-grip 4.8km Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.
Italian young gun Morbidelli posted a best lap of 1’41.538, just three tenths of a second ahead of his teammate Tom Lüthi as they took a low risk approach in less than ideal conditions.
Morbidelli’s time came in the morning FP1 session, which was conducted, on a dry but dusty track compared with stronger winds and light rain for much of FP2.
Despite the tricky conditions Lüthi was able to improve his time by eight tenths of a second in FP2 as he worked to adapt his riding style for MotoGP.
Franco Morbidelli: 21st – 1’41.538
“The weather was not perfect today although we did get time to work on a set-up for dry conditions. For sure we need to improve, I am not fast enough right now and I'm struggling with rear drive grip on acceleration, which also hurts our top speed on the straight.”
Tom Lüthi: 23rd – 1’41.898
“I was surprised in FP1, the grip level was better than I imagined although I was little lost on my first day here with the Honda RC213V. Then in FP2 it was late in the session before the grip improved when the rain stopped and I had better rhythm as I continued to adapt my style for MotoGP. It is a learning process, I need to improve and my crew can also help with a set-up for the way I ride the bike.”
Diego Gubellini: Franco Morbidelli Crew Chief
“We are working mainly to improve traction as we are missing in this area compared to other riders. However we will have to confirm this set-up tomorrow because of the mixed conditions today. With the new surface the bumps are fewer but it seems the grip is also down so we also worked to understand the tyre choice, it is difficult here because the track conditions change every session.”