Lowes makes stunning start in Portugal decider
The crucial final round of the 2020 Moto2 World Championship got off to an exceptional start today for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, with title contender Sam Lowes and Augusto Fernandez fighting for the top three in both extended Free Practice sessions.
- Gorgeous late autumn sunshine and pleasantly warm temperatures of 21 degrees meant conditions at the rollercoaster Algarve International Circuit were ideal to kick off preparations for the first Grand Prix to be staged in Portugal since 2012.
- Both sessions were extended to 55 minutes to give Lowes and Fernandez the perfect opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the spectacular 4.5km track in Portimao and the pair completed almost 100 important data-gathering laps between them.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 11th, 1:43.422, 50 laps
- Fernandez was quickly at home on Portimao’s technical and dramatically undulating layout and at the end of a 24-lap run in FP1 he was able to finish just over 0.2s away from the top three.
- The Spaniard put in another strong stint of 26-laps this afternoon to improve his pace by 0.6s and it was only a series of late time attacks that cost him a deserved place inside the top six going into FP3 tomorrow morning at 1055am local time.
“The position doesn’t show our full potential”
“I’m happy with the work done today. I was able to set a very good pace and the final position definitely doesn’t truly show our full potential and how I am feeling on the bike. We need to find a fast lap for the time attack because my pace is strong and it will be important to qualify well to capitalise on that. If we keep working like this then I am sure we can have a strong race and finish the season in a positive way.”
/// SAM LOWES: 2nd, 1:43.123, 40 laps
- Having undergone round-the-clock treatment on the right-hand injury suffered in a heavy FP3 crash in Valencia six days ago, Lowes defied constant discomfort to focus on finding the optimum gearbox and suspension set-up for the unique challenge of the Algarve International Circuit this morning.
- Eleventh at the end of FP1, Lowes made excellent progress throughout the afternoon’s action and was able to leap into second position with a massive improvement of 1.2s.
“I’m surprised to be this fast”
“Honestly, I’m surprised to be this fast, but I love this track and it’s great that MotoGP has come here for the first time. It’s so much fun to ride but I have to admit that I’m struggling a little with the hand injury. It’s tough in the changes of direction and stopping the bike isn’t easy as well, so the team have helped me a lot today with the setting to try and make me as comfortable as possible. I think we can improve a bit in both areas tomorrow but it’s positive to be so fast and competitive in my current condition. We can definitely find some more performance from myself and the bike, but I feel a lot better than I expected after a very difficult few laps at the start of this morning.”