Márquez restarts 2019 title bid in impressive style in Brno
Refreshed and motivated after a welcome three-week summer break, Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Alex Márquez and Xavi Vierge made a much-anticipated return to the track today to kick off practice for round 10 in Brno.
- The 32-strong Moto2 field tackled humid but cloudy conditions on the opening day of practice at the fast, flowing and undulating 5.4km Brno track in the Czech Republic.
- Lap times were incredibly fast from the opening stages of FP1, with the best lap of 2’02:080 only 0.5s outside of the all-time lap record set by Johann Zarco in 2016.
- Stable conditions continued throughout FP2 and Màrquez and Vierge both improved their pace to finish seventh and 18th respectively on the combined timesheets.
- Márquez and Vierge will be back on track for FP3 tomorrow morning, which is due to get underway at 1055am local time.
Alex Márquez: 7th, 2:01.963, 31 laps, 167 km
- Márquez commenced preparations to clinch a fifth win of 2019 in steady fashion this morning, with a pace of 2’03:505 placing him 19th at the conclusion to FP1.
- Preferring to focus on his race pace with Dunlop’s hard rear, the Spaniard resisted the temptation to use a soft rear tyre to climb up the rankings this morning.
- Márquez improved by the huge margin of 1.6s on just his third lap in FP2 on a soft tyre, which he continued to use for the remainder of the session to assess it as possible race option on Sunday.
- With rain forecast for tomorrow morning’s third and final practice session, the 24-year-old’s crucial lap of 2’01.963 may already be enough to have secured a spot in Q2, as he ended seventh overall and just 0.2s outside of the top three.
“It was great to be back on the bike after the break”
“Today was really positive. It was great to be back on the bike after the break and great to be working with my crew once again. FP1 was a little bit difficult because I was trying to save soft tyres for qualifying tomorrow. We were down the rankings but I was still happy with the job we did. This afternoon I used the soft tyre to make a fast lap time but also kept it for the whole session to check it we can use it in the race on Sunday. We got some good information and I don’t think we are far from our perfect set-up and feeling on the bike.”
Xavi Vierge: 18th, 2:02:546, 32 laps
- Vierge lapped just 0.4s away from the top six in FP1, having spent much of the opening session working on gearbox set-up to get maximum performance out of Triumph’s 765cc three-cylinder engine.
- Eager to clinch a place in the all-important top 14 with rain expected to disrupt proceedings tomorrow, Vierge produced an impressive late attack and set his fastest time of the day on his penultimate lap.
- His 2’02:546 was almost 0.6s faster than his speed set this morning and was only 0.4s away from clinching a spot in the top 10.
- The close competition in Moto2 though meant he completed the day in 18th position and the number 97 is now hoping for a dry FP3 to compete for an automatic place in Q2.
“My feeling on the bike after the summer break was positive”
“Today was good and my feeling on the bike after the summer break was positive. Unfortunately, this afternoon when I put in the new soft tyre I expected a much bigger improvement with the lap time but I couldn’t go quicker than with a used tyre. My race pace is good but we need to find some more rear grip to be more competitive.”