Márquez and Morbidelli ready to get the season started in Qatar
Losail, Qatar – 13 March 2016: Álex Márquez and Franco Morbidelli are both ready to get the 2016 Moto2 season underway, after a positive three-day test at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
For both Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders the Qatar test provided an ideal opportunity to work on refining the set up of their Kalex Moto2 machines ahead of the opening race of the season, which gets underway with two free practice sessions for the intermediate class on Thursday 17th March.
Márquez used the Qatar test to continue the work on suspension settings he started during the previous test in Jerez. The 19-year-old Spaniard managed to improve his feeling with the bike over the course of the three days, before posting his fastest lap in today’s final session to finish in ninth position and less than a second off the fastest time.
One place further back in tenth, also under a second off the fastest time, was his Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS teammate, Morbidelli, who also made significant progress during the test. Increasing confidence in both the bike and tyres saw the 21-year-old Italian improve his lap time by almost half a second over the course of the three days, but he was disappointed not to improve further after errors cost him time in the final session this evening.
The two Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders will continue their training in Qatar over the next few days, before returning to the Losail International Circuit on Thursday to get the 2016 season off to what both hope will be a flying start.
Álex Márquez: 9th – 2’00.129
“The three days here in Qatar have been really positive for me. We’ve done a lot of work and we made a step forward each day, ending with my fastest lap of the test in the final session today. I have a good feeling with the bike and the rhythm was also good, but we still have some work to do to find that last little bit we’re missing. There was a little bit of pain from the wrist here, but I expect it to be much better when we return here for the race. I feel comfortable, I feel relaxed and I can’t wait to get the 2016 season started now.”
Franco Morbidelli: 10th – 2’00.234
“Overall it’s been a good test for us here in Qatar. The focus was very much on refining the set up of the bike and we worked well, making significant progress and improving the lap time each day. My pace was good, but I’m still missing something when it comes to throwing down the one-off fast lap that is so important for qualifying. I was pushing hard to improve my time during the final session, but I wasn’t able to put together a quicker lap. This is something we need to work on some more when we return on Thursday for free practice.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It’s been a positive three days here in Qatar, although I’d have obviously preferred both riders to have finished a little higher up the order today. Álex found some more pace today, which was definitely reflected in his lap time during the final session. It was a boost to his confidence and that will be important when we return for the race. Franco also saw steady improvements in his lap time over the course of the three days as his confidence in the bike and tyres increased. In the final session he was pushing hard for a faster time, maybe too hard because he lost time to a couple of errors. This is definitely something we need to address ahead of qualifying on Saturday, as a decent grid position is critical to a good race result in Moto2. Overall, I’m satisfied with what both riders achieved here and now I’m looking forward to getting the season started!”