Lowes sets sights on podium challenge in Misano rematch
It was a mixed afternoon of qualifying action for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS in Misano today, with Sam Lowes putting up another strong fight for the front row while Augusto Fernandez walked away from a heavy tumble in the decisive Q2 session.
- In cooler and windier conditions than last weekend’s Q2 at the 4.2km Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Lowes came close to recording a second successive pole position in a record-breaking session headed by World Championship leader Luca Marini.
- Lowes qualified in fourth place for tomorrow’s 25-lap race and teammate Fernandez is determined to deliver a pain-defying ride in his 50th World Championship appearance after he fell heavily in Q2 on his way to posting the 12th fastest time.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 12th, 1:36.054, 25 laps
- Fernandez declared himself satisfied with the 20-laps he completed in FP3 this morning after making significant progress with braking stability and rear grip on his Kalex chassis.
- A best lap of 1:36.147 put him 10th on the timesheets and the Spaniard was confident he could take another big step forward with his one lap speed in qualifying.
- An early lap of 1:36.054 was his best of the weekend and he was winding up for a strong late charge to battle for the top six when his attack ended in premature and painful fashion.
- A loss of rear grip under acceleration out of turn five pushed Fernandez onto the grass approaching the next corner and he unfortunately lost control at high speed before walking away with serious consequences.
“Hopefully I can fight towards the front”
“It’s a big shame to finish qualifying with a crash. I was pushing hard and lost the rear and it caused me to fall heavily. We have improved compared to last weekend and made a positive step but so has everybody else and it has been quite difficult. I will try and make another step tomorrow, but it won’t be an easy race after today’s crash. Starting in 12th position is not the end of the world and hopefully I can be strong and fight towards the front for a good result.”
/// SAM LOWES: 4th, 1:35.740, 28 laps
- Lowes was in sensational form from the start of this morning’s FP3 session and on just his fifth lap he fired in a new all-time lap record of 1:35.800 to open up a commanding early advantage of 0.245s over the 29-strong field.
- Lowes fitted Dunlop’s impressively grippy new specification soft rear tyre early on in the final Free Practice session to make sure he advanced into Q2 before reverting to the hard compound on which he was able to set a fast and consistent pace in race trim to finish second behind Enea Bastianini.
- The improvement from Dunlop’s new soft rear tyre was clear to see in Q2 and in time attack mode Lowes set a lap of 1:35.740 on his fourth lap, which was almost half-a-second faster than the time he logged seven days ago to top qualifying.
- The 30-year-old looked well on course for a fifth front row start of 2020 as he upped his pace late on but small mistakes in the final sector on successive laps thwarted his charge.
“I feel my potential is to fight for the podium”
“I’m satisfied to have been fighting for the front row again, but I think I could have been in the top three without mistakes in the last sector on my final two fast laps. Marini and Bezzecchi are very fast but I should have easily been P3 because my ideal time was much quicker than what I actually achieved. I did a lot of fast laps and it is a bit disappointing not to be on the front row when it was clear that I had the speed to do it. I can’t be too disappointed though because my race pace is good, and I am riding well and feel my potential is to fight for the podium. It should be a good battle and I’m sure I will be involved because my pace on the hard rear tyre has been very strong all weekend.”