Lowes powers to stunning pole in Spielberg sunshine
A sensational pole position for Sam Lowes and a superb front row challenge from Augusto Fernandez completed a memorable day of qualifying action for the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team in Austria today.
- Lowes produced one of the best Q2 performances of his career to claim his fourth pole position of 2021 in scorching hot conditions in Styria.
- The narrow margin of just 0.009s prevented Fernandez from making it a dream double front row, but the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders are supremely confident they can fight for the podium in tomorrow’s 25-lap race, which is due to get underway at 1220pm local time.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 4th, 1’28.811
- Third fastest in a record-breaking FP3 session this morning, Fernandez briefly sat on provisional pole in a thrilling 15-minute Q2 session thanks to an impressive hot lap of 1’29.030.
- The Spaniard dropped his time to a 1:28.811 and that looked like earning him a first front row start for the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team before a late charge from Raul Fernandez means his bid for a third consecutive podium will start from fourth.
“I’m sure we have the pace to fight for the win”
“We expected the times to be close in Q2 and that’s exactly how it turned out because we missed the front row by the smallest margin. I’m still satisfied to be in fourth position on the second row because I’m a couple of places higher on the grid than last weekend and I’m confident I have big potential tomorrow. I’m sure I have the pace to fight for the win but we have to make a decision on the rear tyre because that is still a question mark. Sam made pole position with the hard tyre and I felt good with that tyre this morning as well, but the soft can also be good for the race. We need to analyse the data well tonight to make sure we choose the right option but I feel ready to fight tomorrow and keep this good run of results going. I’m sure it will be a hard race but the start will be crucial to make sure we can be in the front group. Consistency will decide the race and I’m sure we can be there.”
/// SAM LOWES: 1st, 1’28.659
- Lowes and his Elf Marc VDS Racing Team crew got the ultimate reward for their tireless work behind-the-scenes this weekend when the Briton blitzed to his 15th career pole position in Moto2.
- With grip levels impacted by a weekend high track temperature of 39 degrees, Lowes called on all his experience to master the tricky conditions and a flawless lap of 1’28.659 set him up perfectly to attack for a first podium finish in Austria.
“We have a great chance of a strong result”
“This pole position feels incredible at a track that is not my best and I don’t think I could have expected to have produced that kind of performance. It is the best lap I’ve ever managed at this track and it came in very hot conditions, so I’m very happy and proud with my performance and how the team have helped me be so competitive. We made some good steps with the bike yesterday and also this morning and in FP3 I felt my rhythm was strong. Maybe not the fastest but very close on the soft and hard rear tyre. At the start of Q2 I felt good with the soft rear tyre but came in for the hard and felt I had better corner speed and that was vital for the pole lap. We’ve seen all weekend how close the lap times are and I think it is going to a tough race. If the track is hot again it might spread the field out but I feel if we can find more speed in sector one and two that we have a great chance of a strong result to take to my home race in Silverstone later this month.”