Márquez and Morbidelli shine in the Lone Star State
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS enjoyed a dream start to the Grand of The Americas in Texas today, with Álex Márquez and Franco Morbidelli in dazzling form to dominate the opening day of practice.
A treacherously bumpy surface at the 5.5km Austin track couldn’t knock the Belgium team’s dynamic duo off their stride, with Márquez and Morbidelli completing an emphatic 1-2 at the top of the timesheets after two 45-minute practice sessions.
Spaniard Márquez shrugged aside the disappointment of crashing out of second place on the final lap in Argentina 12 days ago in convincing fashion, after he logged a best lap of 2’10.601 to set the first day benchmark in Texas.
That was a massive 1.1s quicker than his pace in FP1 and Márquez was one of only three riders that managed to dip into the 2’10 bracket this afternoon, and his closest challenger was in-form Italian Morbidelli.
Morbidelli’s confidence is currently sky high after he took stunning back-to-back victories in Qatar and Argentina and his best lap of 2.10.901 put him second by just 0.005s ahead of Marcel Schrotter.
Today’s inspired performances from both means Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS can attack the remainder of the weekend confident that Márquez and Morbidelli will be in contention to give the team its first race 1-2 since Misano back in 2014.
Álex Márquez: 1st – 2’10.601
“I am really happy with today’s performance because it was the ideal way to return to the track after the frustration of Argentina. If I am honest I was hoping the gap to the rest would be a little bigger than 0.3s because the new soft tyre didn’t give me the extra performance I expected. Apart from that it was close to being a perfect day. I feel strong on the bike and the important thing is my consistency. The only area we need to focus on for tomorrow is having better pace on the softer tyre, which will be very important for qualifying.”
Franco Morbidelli: 2nd – 2’10.901
“Today was a really good start and I am happy with my feeling on the bike because this was not one of my best tracks last year. We had big problems and thankfully this year it is not the case. I have a good pace and this makes me full of confidence because, honestly, before I came here I was a bit worried. But immediately I found a good rhythm and now we have a good base to build on for the rest of the weekend.
Naoya Kaneko: Álex Márquez Crew Chief
“We have got to be happy with how today went, with Álex strong this morning and then showing a big improvement to set the best time in FP2. I think he might have even been a bit faster this afternoon but we were missing a bit of consistency with the soft rear tyre. We anticipated a bigger step with the softer tyre and we need to understand how we can improve to make it work better in qualifying. His race pace is very good and he is confident that he can put Argentina behind him and finish on the podium this weekend.”