Lowes and Fernandez braced for strong battle in Spanish Grand Prix
Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders are confident they can be challenging for the podium in tomorrow’s Jerez Moto2 race after qualifying inside the top 10 during an enthralling Q2 session.
- Lowes and Fernandez will start Sunday’s 23-lap race from fifth and seventh place respectively after an exciting Q2 session, which was made more intense than normal after Dunlop unveiled a special new soft compound rear tyre for use in time attacks this weekend.
- Both have been impressively fast and consistent on the harder option rear tyre, which has to be used in the race at 1220pm local time tomorrow, with expectations high that Lowes and Fernandez can compete for the top five.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 7th, 1’41.210, 24 laps
- Fernandez concentrated on improving rear tyre durability in windy and cool conditions this morning before he took full advantage of the extra grip provided by Dunlop’s new soft rear tyre to move directly into Q2 with a 1’41.146 slashing almost a full second off his best Friday pace.
- A strong wind continued to hit the 4.4km track this afternoon but Fernandez was again able to post a good lap of 1’41.210 to qualify on the third row of the grid for his crucial home round.
“I feel we can be in the lead group again”
“The third row of the grid isn’t bad at all and I’m happy. It was a different Q2 session with the new soft tyre available and we knew it was going to be a very intense time attack. I tried the soft tyre for the first time this morning at the end of FP3 and I felt a big step. Honestly speaking though I’m happier about my race pace than my pace for one lap in qualifying. The race will be completely different, with no option to race the soft tyre, but the work we did this morning on the hard rear tyre gives me confidence that we can have another strong race tomorrow. We will do more work in the Warm Up on the hard rear tyre but I feel happy that we can be in the lead group again like in Portugal.”
/// SAM LOWES: 5th, 1’40.833, 26 laps
- Lowes gathered vital data in race trim during a record-breaking FP3 session and a blistering lap of 1:41.078 put him in a strong sixth position heading into the 15-minute Q2 session this afternoon.
- The 30-year-old was well on course to record a sensational fourth consecutive pole in 2021 when he was over 0.2s up Remy Gardner’s best pace going into the final sector. A small mistake in the last corner didn’t prevent Lowes from logging his best time of the weekend and a 1’40.833 puts him fifth on the grid before a slow speed crash at turn two on his final flying lap ended his stunning challenge.
“I’ve got the pace to fight at the front”
“It was a shame with the mistake in the final corner because it looked like I was going to be on pole position again and it would have been great to keep that unbeaten Q2 record going. It wasn’t meant to be, but you can see with the new Dunlop soft rear tyre that everybody is pushing so hard. It made it a different style of qualifying but I’m happy, particularly with my pace from FP3 where we were very fast and consistent on the hard tyre, which is the race choice. I’ve got the pace to fight at the front and I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”