Lowes makes strong start in Valencia return
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Sam Lowes battled for the top three in both practice sessions in Valencia today, as teammate Augusto Fernandez returned from his injury absence last weekend with a resilient display.
- The start of the penultimate round of the 2020 Moto2 World Championship was a positive one for Lowes and Fernandez, who set competitive times throughout both 40-minute sessions at the tight and twisty 4km Valencia venue.
- With grip levels affected by an increase in track temperature from 19 to 24 degrees this afternoon, Lowes booked his provisional place in Q2 and Fernandez gave himself a big boost to lap within 0.4s of the top 10.
/// AUGUSTO FERNÁNDEZ: 19th, 1:35.468, 37 laps
- Following his withdrawal from last weekend’s action on Saturday morning with a painful left foot injury, Fernandez was quickly back in the groove today and he finished just one second away from the best pace at the end of an 18-lap stint in FP1.
- The gutsy Spaniard improved his time by half-a-second this afternoon and he was just over 0.1s away from booking a provisional place in tomorrow afternoon’s Q2 session.
“I can still ride at a good level”
“The left foot isn’t too bad but when I’m on the bike I can still feel some pain. I can manage it and still ride at a good level without too many problems. I’m happy for that and today the main focus was making up for the time lost in the dry race last Sunday. That puts us at a little bit of a disadvantage compared to the rest because we haven’t done so many kilometres in the dry. I’m trying to understand the set-up and tyre performance as quickly as possible and we have made good progress. The changes we made from FP1 worked well and it helped me a lot to be fast on very used tyres. I was riding well and with the new tyre unfortunately I didn’t have the same feeling, which is a shame. We need to analyse this but if we can be faster on the new tyre I’m sure I can be much higher up the standings.”
/// SAM LOWES: 4th, 1’34.957, 39 laps
- After rain disrupted preparations last weekend, a 1:34.957 left Lowes just 0.015s outside of the top three this morning and the Briton then took advantage of sunny conditions to evaluate a new swingarm designed to improve acceleration grip and braking stability in FP2.
- Lowes led for a long period of the second session and at its conclusion the 30-year-old was one of only two riders to lap under the 1.35 bracket to finish just 0.090s behind Italian Fabio di Giannantonio.
“I feel like I’m on the pace”
“It was a good start to the weekend and I quickly found a good feeling again after the disappointment of Sunday’s race. We tried some new parts because we had good conditions to work in and I was able to draw some positive conclusions that we can build on for tomorrow. I feel like I’m on the pace and I was close to the best time in both sessions, but I need to improve in the last sector. I made a step this afternoon and we still need to find a bit more time in that section. Other than that it has been a positive day and we collected a lot of interesting information to analyse for tomorrow.”