Lowes makes flying start in bumpy Brno
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Sam Lowes was in magnificent form to set the best pace on day one in Brno, with Augusto Fernandez close to being back to his best with a strong top six challenge in both practice sessions
- High ambient temperatures and Brno’s low grip and bumpy surface didn’t stop Lowes from enjoying an outstanding start to the Czech Republic Grand Prix and after setting the fastest lap time of the day in FP1 he was second quickest in this afternoon’s session.
- Fernandez made an exceptional start this morning and narrowly missed out on a place in the top three, and during FP2 he was satisfied with progress made in the hottest conditions of the day.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 11th, 2:03.141, 31 laps
- The hard work to gain more front-end feeling and a confidence-inspiring base setting in both Jerez races quickly paid off this morning and Fernandez set a best lap of 2:03.141 to take a morale-boosting fourth position.
- The Spaniard completed a positive 16-lap stint in a session in which he was able to gain vital information on all tyre options available from Dunlop for this weekend’s 19-lap race.
- Conditions were tricky in the afternoon session with a big increase in track temperature of 10 degrees, but Fernandez was still close to matching his times set in the cooler morning weather.
- The number 37 finished just two-thousandths-of-a-second away from the top 10 on the combined standings and following today’s strong showing he is determined to fight his way directly into Q2 tomorrow.
“We have made a very big step compared to Jerez”
“Today I had a better feeling and this morning I was already able to be quite competitive. The team did a very good job and I was able to put together a very good lap time that was close to the top three. This afternoon we wanted to work a lot with the hard front tyre and I can be consistent with it, but I’m missing something for an outright fast lap. We have to keep working with the hard tyre because it looks like that will be the best choice for the race, but we have made a very big step in the right direction compared to Jerez and that is the most important thing.”
/// SAM LOWES: 1st, 2:02.480, 29 laps
- The momentum Lowes built up with superb back-to-back fourth place finishes in Jerez continued in FP1 this morning and a lap of 2:02.480 saw him dominate the opening session in sunny conditions.
- The Briton was nearly 0.350s clear of the chasing pack led by Joe Roberts, as ideal conditions allowed him to work on his race rhythm with Dunlop’s hard rear tyre before a late switch to the soft compound fired him to the top of the rankings.
- Lowes was equally impressive in hotter conditions in FP2 and a personal best time of 2.02.722 saw him miss out on yet another P1 by just 0.033s.
- Having qualified on the front row of the grid both Jerez races last month, Lowes goes into qualifying day tomorrow day confident he can secure a third front row start in succession for the first time since the early part of the 2016 campaign.
“The team gave me a great bike from the start of FP1”
“I’m really happy with the first day here in Brno. The team gave me a great bike right from the start of FP1, so all the confidence I gained from Jerez was immediately there. I was happy with my performance this morning and again in FP2 because my pace was strong on worn tyres, which is very good for the race. We have tried a few different things today that have put us in good shape, and it will be a case of putting them together tomorrow to make an even stronger package.”