Lowes dominates day one in Austria
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS made a dream start to the Austrian Grand Prix today, with sensational Sam Lowes fastest in both sessions and Augusto Fernandez narrowly missing out on a place inside the top three.
- Lowes and Fernandez were able to work extensively on their race settings in two dry sessions today, which was a welcome surprise after heavy rain was initially forecast to play a major part in proceedings this afternoon.
- Lowes was in imperious form in FP1 and was fastest again in the second session after early spots of rain didn’t disrupt his blistering pace this afternoon, while Fernandez was a constant top five contender on a day full of positives for the Belgian squad.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 4th, 1:29.177, 36 laps
- Boosted by his season best fifth place in Brno just five days ago, Fernandez was quickly into a fast rhythm in FP1 and finished only 0.044s behind teammate Lowes to claim third spot in cool and cloudy conditions.
- Fernandez found immediate confidence on a new set-up this morning and was satisfied with his race pace around the undulating 4.3km Spielberg track after completing 23 important data gathering laps.
- The key target for Fernandez was to fire in a hot lap late in FP1 to secure a provisional place in Q2, with rain predicted to disrupt proceedings in the afternoon session.
- Light rain fell in some sections at the start of FP2, but on slick tyres on a full dry track, Fernandez almost matched his time set earlier to comfortably claim his spot in the all-important top 14.
“We have been very competitive right from the beginning”
“I’m very happy with how this first day went. We have been competitive right from the beginning and I was strong in both sessions. My pace is strong and I’m really happy with how my team is working. We were missing a little bit to set a faster time in FP2 compared to this morning, but everything is clear for tomorrow in terms of how we can improve. We need to see what the weather will be like tomorrow because it can be very unpredictable at this track. But the most important thing is we showed that we are continuing to work in a very good way after the strong weekend in Brno.”
///SAM LOWES: 1st, 1:28.985 47 laps
- Lowes picked up exactly where he left off in Brno with a 1.29.133 firing him to the top of the timesheets at the end of an FP1 session in which he was the fastest and busiest rider on track.
- It was the second race in succession that Lowes has coming flying out of the gate after he topped FP1 in Brno seven days ago and the Briton set the pace for more than half of the 40-minute session.
- The main focus of the first session was working on race pace in case FP2 was a washout and his speed and consistency was particularly impressive, with 16 of his 24 laps completed in the 1.29 bracket.
- Lowes took full advantage of surprisingly dry track conditions in FP2 and a lap 1:28.985 kept him on top of the rankings, as he was one of only two riders able to post a sub 1.29 time on the opening day.
“We’ve had two very positive sessions”
“Today has been very good for me. I’m happy to be so competitive again and build on the strong races we’ve had recently. I was a little bit nervous coming to Austria because this track has not been the best for me in the past, but immediately from the first exit this morning I felt really confident. The bike is working well and once again the team have given me a really good base to work with and that fills me with confidence right from the first laps. I was surprised to get in so many dry laps in the second session and improve my pace from this morning because we were expecting rain. We’ve had two very positive sessions and even if it rains tomorrow we feel ready to race.”