Lowes ready to launch victory challenge in Austria
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Sam Lowes will start tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix from a strong sixth position on the grid after dominating Free Practice, with Augusto Fernandez expecting to battle for the top five again.
- Lowes starred this morning to make sure he was undefeated in three Free Practice sessions in Austria, as the 4.3km Spielberg track quickly dried ahead of today’s action following heavy overnight rain and early showers.
- The British star was in fast form in qualifying and only missed out on a fourth successive front row in 2020 by less than 0.2s, with Fernandez showcasing strong pace in race trim before he qualified in 12th position for the 25-lap race.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 12th, 1:29.107, 31 laps
- Dry conditions this morning gave Fernandez and his crew the perfect opportunity to further fine tune race settings on his Kalex chassis and he was able to complete 21 impressively consistent laps.
- Under heavy cloud cover in the spectacular Styrian mountains, Fernandez was satisfied with solid progress made this morning after he spent the majority of his time on track better understanding his potential on worn tyres.
- The Spaniard was able to move into the crucial Q2 session courtesy of his incredibly fast start to the weekend, with his best lap of 1:29.177 set in time attack mode in FP1 yesterday proving decisive.
- The number 37 continued his positive progression this afternoon in qualifying and a lap of 1:29.107 was his best of the weekend to secure a place on the fourth row of the grid.
“I know that we can recover plenty of positions”
“I was very happy with the job we managed in FP3 this morning. We spent a lot of time working on my race pace and I was happy with my rhythm. But it was quite difficult in qualifying. I couldn’t put together one fast lap when I really needed to. The good thing is that based on my pace from this morning I know we can recover plenty of positions. It will be crucial to make a good start and find my best rhythm quickly so I can be fighting close to the front.”
///SAM LOWES: 6th, 1:28.894, 33 laps
- Lowes was the undisputed star of Friday’s action and after leading the way in both sessions yesterday he continued his golden run this morning to set the fastest time in the third and final practice.
- A brilliant lap of 1:28.877 set with 12 minutes remaining was just over 0.1s away from the 2019 pole position time set by Tetsuta Nagashima.
- With confidence soaring going into Q2, Lowes immediately put himself in contention for another front row starting position when he set a 1:28.894 on just his third lap, which eventually clinched him a spot on row two.
- The Spielberg track has traditionally been a difficult venue for Lowes, but he fully expects to be fighting in the lead group tomorrow as he goes in search of back-to-back podium finishes for the first time since the Austin and Jerez races back in 2016.
“There’s no reason why we can’t be fighting for the podium”
“I’m very happy because this has traditionally been a very difficult track for me and to be as fast as I have been all weekend is extremely positive for us. Today proved in Moto2 qualifying that if you don’t make the perfect lap it is difficult to be on the front row but I’m not too disappointed because my pace for the race is very strong. I’m still on the second row and coming into this weekend on a track I know is hard for me, I would have definitely been happy with that. You always want more but I feel good and I’m looking forward to the race. There is no reason why we can’t be fighting for the podium and hopefully the win.”