Lowes blasts to top spot in blustery Barcelona
A strong and cool wind couldn’t prevent Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Sam Lowes and Augusto Fernandez from setting a hot pace on the first day of Moto2 practice at the fast and flowing Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
- Lowes launched his quest for a third podium finish in 2020 with a brilliant display this morning to top the timesheets and he was also fighting for the top six again in a short stint on track in FP2.
- With powerful gusts gaining strength throughout the day, Fernandez coped superbly with the unpredictable conditions to challenge for the top three in both sessions and he’s now aiming to repeat his 2019 pole position in tomorrow’s qualifying action.
///AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 10th, 1’44.858, 37 laps
- Fernandez gave himself a belated birthday boost this morning when a lap of 1:45.257 placed him inside the top three for long periods of the opening practice session.
- The Spaniard, who celebrated his 23rd birthday earlier this week, was satisfied with his speed on both the soft and hard Dunlop rear tyre options and he was able to lap just 0.2s outside of the top three with a best lap of 1:44.858.
- Fernandez was also working on finding the optimum chassis and electronics set-up this afternoon and that progress was rewarded when he delivered his best time of the second session on his 19th and final lap on worn tyres.
- The influence of the strong wind though was clear this afternoon and Fernandez resisted the temptation to fit a new soft tyre, with only nine riders out of the 30-strong field able to improve their pace compared to FP1.
“I feel very confident with the bike”
“It was a good first day and I feel confident with the bike. It was quite windy this morning, but the conditions were definitely worse for the second session and it made it a bit harder to make fast lap times. Compared to this morning the times were quite a bit slower, but we tried to understand even in those conditions if the changes we made from FP1 had improved our package. I feel we made a very good step and we didn’t use a new rear tyre in FP2 because we knew it was going to be difficult to improve from this morning in those conditions. We expect less wind tomorrow and I’m looking forward to the time attack, but already we have a good base to work with for the rest of the weekend.”
///SAM LOWES: 1st, 1’44.122, 29 laps
- Lowes laid down an early marker this morning when a stunning sequence of fast laps on soft Dunlop rubber at the end of FP1 put him firmly in control at the top of the timesheets.
- A superb time 1’44.122 at the end of three blisteringly fast laps was so impressive that only World Championship leader Luca Marini could lap within 0.5s of the Briton.
- Not only did that place Lowes fastest for the fifth FP1 in the last six races but it was a time that remained unbeaten on day one as a strong wind buffeted the Barcelona venue and prevented anybody getting close to matching his dazzling speed.
- With high winds providing such challenging conditions this afternoon, Lowes sensibly opted for a risk-free strategy and decided to complete only 12 laps, knowing his incredible pace earlier had comfortably secured him a provisional place in Q2.
“We had a very good pace this morning”
“Today was a very good day for me. We found a good pace this morning and some changes we made to the bike felt quite positive. We have some more ideas to try in FP3 tomorrow to get the bike working better in some corners but overall it has been very positive. It is nice to come to a totally different track and be strong. I didn’t do so many laps this afternoon but that was purely down to the fact that the wind was very strong. I’ll sleep well tonight and hopefully we can improve again tomorrow.”