Lowes leads the way on day one in Qatar
The Englishman started the season as he means to go on by ending Friday at the Losail International Circuit with the fastest time, while Augusto Fernandez looks to fight back from a difficult opening day.
- Qatar’s Losail International Circuit hosted the first sessions of the 2021 Moto2 World Championship on Friday with the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team – now in its twelfth season racing in this class – showing potential for a victory challenge on Sunday.
- Track conditions and temperatures varied between FP1, which started at 14:45 local time, and FP2, which began under the floodlights at 19:05, but Briton Sam Lowes was fast in both, finishing 2nd and 1st in the day’s two sessions.
/// AUGUSTO FERNÁNDEZ, 27th, 2’00.373
- The rider from the Balearic Islands started the weekend brightly, taking the changes from preseason testing with the rear of his bike to finish ninth in FP1 with a time of 2’00.965.
- However, an issue with the electronics set-up the 23-year old’s machine restricted his efforts in the evening session. Fernandez is now determined to improve his 2’00.373, which was only good enough for 27th place, on Saturday.
“We still need to find the base to feel good”
“A difficult day! It was not the best start to the season. We came here from testing with some work to do and we couldn’t do it today because of the problem with the electronics. It’s a shame because we need the time to try some things. We still need to find the base to feel good and fight with those guys at the front. We’re missing something and it’s a shame because we couldn’t try anything in FP2. And FP2 is the real one because they are going to be the same conditions as the race. We’ll keep working. Tomorrow is going to be difficult because the conditions will be difficult in FP3 to improve the lap time so we might be in Q1. We will try anyway. Let’s work to find the solution to do a good race on Sunday.”
/// SAM LOWES, 1st, 1’58.959
- Having topped the times at the test at this track last weekend, Lowes started with his base setting from preseason and was immediately fast, finishing 2nd in FP1. He then improved his personal best time by 1.362s to top FP2 with a lap of 1’58.959.
- A nine-lap run in the first half of FP2 demonstrated Lowes’ excellent consistency, with seven of those laps in the low 1’59s or high 1’58s.
“We can be positive and happy about the first day”
“It’s nice to start the season after all the testing. And it’s nice to start in a relaxed way the same as the test. A really positive first day. We tried something in the front to give me a bit more stability. The track was a little bit different (to the test) so we’re not 100% sure, but for me it felt a little bit better. My pace compared to the test was a little slower, but compared to the other guys it was stronger. This is the important schedule of the weekend. FP1 and FP3 are during the day time. FP2 is the main one. We kept the tyre, did the run and the pace is not so far. We can be positive and happy about the first day and look forward to tomorrow and the first Qualifying session of the year.”