Lowes and Fernandez make promising start in Portugal
The Elf Marc VDS Racing Team made a promising start to the Portuguese Grand Prix today, with World Championship leader Sam Lowes and Augusto Fernandez posting competitive lap times in both Free Practice sessions.
- Lowes and Fernandez encountered tricky track conditions this morning when they had to negotiate a number of damp patches left by overnight rain throughout FP1.
- Cloudy but windy conditions meant the 4.6km Algarve International Circuit was fully dry for this afternoon’s action and Lowes and Fernandez were both able to secure themselves a place in Q2 after a productive 40-minute FP2.
///AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 13th, 1’44.187, 32 laps
- A best lap of 1’45.029 on his 17th and final lap in FP1 placed Fernandez only 0.3s away from the top 10 while he concentrated on gaining more front stability for corner entry in the fast and undulating last two sectors of the spectacular Portimao venue.
- The 23-year-old took advantage of significantly more favourable conditions and grip levels to improve by nearly a second this afternoon and his personal best time of 1’44.187 placed him only 0.4s away from the top three in 13th position.
“We still have a big margin to improve”
“It has not been an easy day because I didn’t feel comfortable with the base setting that we started with this morning. This afternoon was a bit better, but we still have a big margin to improve. We need to analyse the data in detail tonight to make the big step we need for tomorrow to be stronger and closer to the front. We are in Q2, but we know everybody is going to improve. We have to be one of them and hopefully we can manage it.”
/// SAM LOWES: 7th, 1’43.855, 34 laps
- The winner in both Qatar races kicked off round three with a 16-lap stint in FP1 and Lowes set the sixth quickest time while trying to improve grip on a surface left slippery after yesterday’s rain showers.
- Lowes topped the timesheets for a period in both FP1 and FP2 and was still comfortably inside the top 10 at the end of the opening, despite opting not to lap with Dunlop’s soft rear tyre in the closing stages this afternoon.
“The positive is my race pace is looking strong again”
“Today wasn’t too bad even though we didn’t find a very good feeling with the bike. We tried a few different things with the set-up this afternoon and I was able to do my fastest lap on my last lap with a used tyre. I decided against putting in a soft tyre because I wanted to work for the race. We are not far away but I’d like more stability from the bike because the times weren’t coming smoothly today. I can also improve myself but the positive is my race pace is looking strong again and we have another chance to improve tomorrow.”