Lowes returns to action with impressive top six in Jerez
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Sam Lowes and Augusto Fernandez made a welcome return to Moto2 action in scorching hot conditions at the Jerez track in Andalucia today. Working on race pace and tyre choice were the main objectives for the first day.
- After a four-month break caused by the global coronavirus outbreak, the 2020 Moto2 World Championship roared back into action at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto today.
- Baking hot conditions meant it was a physically and mentally demanding restart for Lowes and Fernandez, who worked to on the base set-up of their Kalex chassis and tyre choice for Sunday’s 23-lap race.
- In front of deserted grandstands, with this weekend’s action taking place behind-closed doors, Lowes made a stunning return to competition and was inside the top six in both 40-minute practice sessions.
- Fernandez also put up a strong fight for the top 10 and he finished only 0.8s away from the best pace, with only a second covering the top 22 riders.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 20th, 1:42.214, 36 laps
- Fernandez experimented with a modified set-up to help with front-end confidence in FP1 this morning to finish only 0.4s away from the top 10.
- The Spaniard also evaluated Dunlop’s front tyre options in this morning’s FP1 session and started FP2 confident he could challenge for the top 10 once again.
- Fine-tuning the race set-up of his Kalex package was the prime goal for Fernandez in the second session, as well as working on his race pace. He ended the session in 13th position.
- Although he finished 20th on the combined standings, Fernandez is confident he can take advantage of cooler conditions tomorrow morning in FP3 to secure a vital top 14 place and move immediately into Q2.
“We are gaining confidence and improving the bike”
“It was quite a difficult first day. Step-by-step we are gaining confidence and improving the bike, but we are still too far away from the front. We need to analyse everything, but I think we are going in the right direction and this helps me to keep calm. We are going to work hard to make a big step for tomorrow morning’s session.”
/// SAM LOWES: 6th, 1:41.781, 36 laps
- Confidence was high in the Lowes camp after the British rider finished fifth quickest in a special one-day test session in Jerez on Wednesday.
- Fully recovered from the pre-season shoulder injury that forced him to withdraw from the opening round in Qatar in early March, Lowes dedicated most of his time in FP1 working on front tyre choice and minor set-up modifications.
- He finished sixth fastest this morning and was less than 0.1s away from the top three in a session led by Luca Marini.
- A significant increase in track temperature for FP2 from 41 to 52 degrees meant lap times were slower, but Lowes produced another fast and consistent performance to finish fifth.
“I’m really happy with the step we made from the test”
“It has been a very positive day for me. I’m sixth overall and I felt good in both sessions. I tried some modifications on the bike in the afternoon when it was extremely hot, and I found some positive points with the hard front tyre. My pace is quite strong and I’ve worked a lot putting a distance on the tyres and I was consistent. I’m missing some feeling in a couple of corners but I’m really happy with the step we made from the test on Wednesday and now I can’t wait for my first qualifying session of the season tomorrow.”