Lowes tops Qatar test to end pre-season in style
A busy but positive pre-season campaign came to a conclusion for Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Augusto Fernandez in Qatar this evening.
- Lowes gave himself a huge confidence boost at the end of the three-day test by topping the overall timesheets in superb fashion, while Fernandez concentrated on finding a better setting with the rear of his Kalex chassis.
- Lowes and Fernandez will return to the Losail International Circuit in just five days for the opening Free Practice session of the 2021 World Championship, which kicks off a scheduled 19-round title battle.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 24th, 1’59.739, 29 laps
- Fernandez dedicated much of his time on track today to working on rear set-up tweaks, with the aim of finding more grip on corner exit and stability under acceleration.
- Fernandez collected plenty of important data to analyse ahead of this weekend’s opening race and in the third and final session he clocked a personal best pace of 1’59.739.
- The close nature of the competition coming up in 2021 was highlighted on the final timesheets, with Fernandez finishing 24th but the Spaniard only missed the top 10 by 0.5s.
“I am sure we can show our potential in the race”
“It’s been a hard day and a shame to finish the test like this. I wasn’t feeling good on the bike and I also had a crash in turn six, so it was a difficult session. We worked a lot on the rear of the bike to understand more about what we need for the set-up next weekend. We had two positive days and that means I need to quickly forget what happened today. I’m not that far away in terms of the times and with all the positive things we have worked on this weekend I am sure we can show our potential in the race.”
/// SAM LOWES: 1st, 1’58.655, 44 laps
- Lowes has been a main protagonist throughout the entire Qatar test and once again tonight he was constantly challenging for the top three.
- The 30-year-old powered his Kalex machine to a stunning time of 1’58.655, which came during a very impressive race simulation and not a soft tyre time attack.
- That lap was only 0.5s away from the official All Time Lap Record set by Joe Roberts in Q2 last year and only Marco Bezzecchi and Remy Gardner lapped within 0.1s of the British star.
“We’ve done a great job all winter”
“Today was a very good day and it’s always nice to finish fastest. We worked a lot on the bike over the first two days to give me a good feeling and in the last session tonight we put our best package together and did a race simulation. I had a really good rhythm and to be honest I didn’t expect to be fastest because I didn’t do a time attack. I just did the race run and my best time came in that, so I’m very happy. The team did a great job because the bike felt great at the time we will be racing at on Sunday, particularly with used tyres. We’ve done a good job all winter and now I can look forward to this weekend expecting to have a lot of fun to start the season.”