Lowes opens up 2021 with imperious pole position
Sam Lowes was in a class of his own on Saturday evening as he rode to the 12th pole of his grand prix career under the floodlights in Qatar, while Augusto Fernandez continued to work toward finding a solid base setting.
- The first qualifying sessions of the 2021 season started under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit on Saturday evening, as Sam Lowes and Augusto Fernandez pushed to show their full potential across one flying lap.
- Afternoon temperatures of 38 degrees meant track conditions in FP3 were vastly different to what riders experienced in the qualifying sessions, which started at 18:25 local time. Sam Lowes was once again the reference, leading Moto2 Q2 from the mid-point to finish Saturday with the fastest time.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ, 21st, 1’59.667
- An electronics issue on Friday evening deprived Augusto of valuable set-up time, meaning he and new crew chief Lucio Nicastro decided to change the settings of his machine ahead of the 15-minute Q1 session.
- The 23-year old gave it everything in Q1 while assessing his new set-up and managed to lower his personal best lap time in the session from 2’01.925 to 1’59.667, which was good enough for 21st on the grid.
“Let’s find something tonight and I will really go for it”
“Another hard day but we have to take the positives. We are testing all the things we couldn’t try at the test or yesterday evening. The night sessions are the ones that count and we missed the last two, on the final day of testing and last night. That made our job a bit more difficult. We tried some things in qualifying. There were some positives and negatives. We are still a bit far away from a good base. I’ll take the rest of this GP to try and build this base. We have another race here next weekend so it’s important to take some good information from tomorrow and all the weekend. Let’s see if we can still do a good race. I hope we can, so let’s find something tonight and I will really go for it!”
/// SAM LOWES, 1st – 1’58.726
- It was another exceptional day for the 30-year old Briton, who lapped alone throughout the Q2 session. His seven-lap run showed speed and consistency with Lowes posting five laps in the 1’58s.
- His 4th lap of the evening – a 1’58.726 – was 0.140s faster than second placed Raul Fernandez, and was enough to secure the 12th pole position of Lowes’ Moto2 career (and his fourth for the Marc VDS team).
“My pace was really strong, even in the qualifying session”
“I’m happy because my pace was really strong, even in the qualifying session. I did lots of fast laps. It’s been a positive weekend so far. The conditions are going to change tomorrow. Maybe it will be cooler with more wind. If the wind is quite high, I expect there will be a big group at the front together. If the wind is less and I can get away, maybe I’ll be battling with just two or three guys. But it’s the first race of the year. It’s always a bit different. I’m just focussed on myself and we’ll see where we are in the last five laps. We have to go to bed tonight relaxed. We’ve done the work for the race pace, and done the work for the one lap speed. We’ll be ready!”