Márquez lays down early marker at sun-kissed Silverstone
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS star Álex Márquez enjoyed a bumpy but fast ride around the spectacular Silverstone track today, with the Spaniard securing top spot in today’s two practice sessions by a commanding margin.
Only a last lap blitz from Dominique Aegerter denied Márquez top spot in the earlier FP1 session, but the Spaniard wasn’t to be denied this afternoon with a faultless performance in the second session.
Márquez took full advantage of warm and sunny conditions today to find an optimum set-up with his Kalex machine that coped with the demanding Silverstone layout.
The famous British track is universally popular for its fast changes of direction and high-speed layout, but its 5.9km surface poses a unique set-up challenge, with large parts of the track littered with severe ripples and bumps.
A lap of 2’07.491 was proof of the excellent job Márquez and his crew did in finding a set-up to best absorb the bumps, and he was 0.272s faster than the chasing pack at the end of today’s proceedings.
The bumps provided a sterner test for World Championship leader Franco Morbidelli, who nevertheless was still able to make good progress throughout today on making his Kalex machine a more comfortable ride.
Morbidelli, who has already won seven races this season, was less than a tenth away from fourth position in seventh, and he is confident he can storm back to prominence for final practice and qualifying tomorrow.
Álex Márquez: 1st – 2’07.491
“I was really fast today in both sessions and that gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the weekend. My rhythm was very good although I would be happier if we could find a bit more consistent grip from the soft rear tyre. That will be something to focus on but I love this track and have always gone well here, so it is pleasing to get the first day out of the way with such good speed. We need to keep focused and make sure we are in this position for the rest of the weekend. The bumps are bad here but I don’t think about it too much. It’s the same for everybody and I just focus on myself. I find that if I don’t think about the bumps I don’t feel them and that seems to work!”
Franco Morbidelli: 7th – 2’08.287
“All I can say is I struggled to find the pace today. It hasn’t happened so much this season but you will always get days like today, so it will be important to try and find a solution to be stronger tomorrow. We will sit down and check the data tonight to fully understand what the problems are, but I have total faith in my crew that they will give me a bike tomorrow that will allow me to be more competitive. We can see from the pace of Álex what the package is capable of and I’m sure we can learn from some of the things he was doing today.”
Naoya Kaneko: Álex Márquez Crew Chief
“It’s always good to start a weekend off so strongly and Álex showed he was competitive in both sessions, so we already have a fast pace. The key job now is to ensure we have a consistently fast pace over the race distance. We are working in the right direction but we need to get a faster lap with the soft tire. That’s important of course for qualifying and we will try and be better in that area.”