Márquez makes his mark in Assen
Assen, The Netherlands – 25 June 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Álex Márquez demonstrated his soaring confidence and improved speed in the 2015 Moto2 World Championship today by setting the fifth quickest time in practice for this weekend’s historic Dutch TT.
Márquez set a best time of 1.38.152 to finish less than 0.3s away from the top three on easily his best day since graduating to the combative Moto2 category as reigning Moto3 World Champion.
The most pleasing aspect of the 19-year-old’s outstanding ride was his big improvement on soft rubber, which has been a key area the Spaniard has intensively worked on to improve his qualifying prospects.
An eighth place finish on today’s leaderboard doesn’t accurately represent current Moto2 World Champion Tito Rabat’s outright pace.
Unlike the vast majority of his rivals, Rabat opted against running Dunlop’s soft option rear tyre in both sessions, so he could dedicate all his time on track to fine-tuning his Kalex package in race trim on the harder compound.
Rabat was still able to lap within 0.4s of the top three, which bodes well for him to challenge for a career first podium in Assen on Saturday.
Álex Márquez: 5th – 1’38.152
“This has definitely been my best day on a Moto2 bike. I enjoyed riding a lot and improved with every lap. We tried some different settings that improved my feeling and we will continue to work in this direction tomorrow. I have a lot of confidence with the bike now in the slow corners, but we can still gain more in the fast sections. It is getting better but I am pleased to be fast on new tyres also. We have been working very hard to improve in this area to help my grid position and it is paying off.”
Tito Rabat: 8th – 1’38.272
“Right from the beginning the plan was to work only with the hard tyre and that’s what we did. We understood many things about the performance of the bike and tyres for the race, and I know on a softer tyre I have a big margin to improve. But the key for today was to gain information for the race. We suffered some chatter but we understand why and now we can improve a lot.”
Naoya Kaneko: Chief Mechanic, Álex Márquez
“I am very happy with Alex today. He likes this track because it is fast and flowing and we worked at the Aragon test last week to calm down the rear more and it helped today. He has a good rhythm on used tyres but we can improve in the final sector and also gain some front feeling in the fast sections. When we put in the new tyre he feels like he has too much grip and it is not easy to control the slide to help the bike turn. But we are getting better in this area and I am optimistic he can qualify inside the top 10 tomorrow.”