Márquez storms to first Moto2 front row in Brno
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Álex Márquez will start a Moto2 World Championship race from the front row of the grid for the first time tomorrow after he produced a dazzling qualifying performance in scorching hot conditions in Brno this afternoon.
Márquez was supremely confident he could challenge for a top three place on the grid for tomorrow’s 20-lap race following an eye-catching ride to sixth place at the end of practice this morning.
The 20-year-old’s confidence was well placed and he immediately stormed to the top of the qualifying standings with a sensational early lap of 2.01.831.
The Spaniard’s blistering pace went unchallenged until the session was interrupted with just under five minutes remaining when the red flags came out following a heavy crash for Thomas Lüthi at turn nine.
Once the session resumed after a short delay, Márquez was pushed back to third by a late charge from reigning World Champion Johann Zarco and Sam Lowes. But he was still able to secure his first front row start since the Valencia Moto3 round back in 2014 and his pace in race trim means optimism is high that Márquez can compete for a maiden Moto2 podium tomorrow.
Major modifications to the set-up of his Kalex machine paid off for Franco Morbidelli, who found it difficult to match the pace of the top group in practice when he finished outside of the top 10.
The Italian was a much more competitive force though in qualifying and he was able to improve his pace by 0.7s to secure a hard earned sixth place on the grid.
Álex Márquez: 3rd – 2’01.831
“Today has been a great day for me and Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS to finally get on the front row of the grid. It has taken a while but finally we achieved it today and I was always confident I would be strong here in Brno. I love this track and the bike has given me a comfortable and confident feeling, so I’ve been able to show the performance I think I’ve been capable of all season. When I was having a lot of crashes at the beginning of the season, I still think I was riding as well then as now, but it was just that now we are finishing races and I’ve got some of my confidence back that was missing. We have worked so well all weekend and I am so motivated and confident now to try and fight for my first Moto2 podium tomorrow. I just hope it doesn’t rain so we can see a good fight.”
Franco Morbidelli: 6th – 2’02.099
“After the problems I had in practice yesterday I am really happy to have taken a place on the second row of the grid. I struggled yesterday and also in the final practice this morning but my team did a great job in qualifying to improve the set-up and I could ride more at my normal high level. We lost quite a bit of track time in practice searching for the best feeling and I think without that I could have been even more competitive today. I am looking forward to the race and I am sure with a good start that I can go away with the leading group.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I have to say a big congratulations to Álex for getting his first Moto2 front row here in Brno. It took two fantastic final laps from Zarco and Lowes to deny him pole position after the red flag, but we have to be very satisfied that he is on the front row. We can’t say it is a complete surprise because he has been very strong all weekend and we were always confident he would be battling for a place on the front row. His race rhythm has also been very impressive, so we go into tomorrow’s race very optimistic that he can be fighting for the podium. It was nice to see him Parc Ferme for the first time since he joined us in 2015 and I have to say thanks to him and his crew for all their hard work and commitment in the last 18 months. There have been some difficult moments but we have always given Álex nothing less than 100% support and been very patient with him. So today was nice to get a good reward and hopefully we can be celebrating again tomorrow. Franco also made a good step today on what has been a difficult weekend for him. We’ve been making big changes and he’s spent a lot of time in the garage, so he did a very good job to take sixth once we’d given him some confidence with the bike. We also want to pass on our best wishes to Thomas Lüthi for a speedy recovery after his crash today in qualifying.”