Márquez to chase home glory from pole position
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Álex Márquez will be hoping to reign in Spain for the second time in 2017 after the big home crowd favourite stormed to pole position at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today.
Márquez won his first Moto2 World Championship race from pole position earlier this season in Jerez, and he is confident history will repeat itself in tomorrow’s 23-lap race, which is set to be run in scorching hot temperatures.
The 20-year-old’s incredible time of 1’49.408 was almost as hot as the searing heat in Barcelona today, with track temperatures peaking at a tyre punishing and physically draining 55 degrees.
Márquez set his stall out early by setting a phenomenally fast pace straight out of the box in qualifying. He needed just three laps to fire in his quickest pace and that was a time that nobody seriously challenged throughout the remainder of the 45-minute session.
Márquez was also fastest in FP3 this morning when the field reverted to the 2016 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya configuration, after concerns were raised about safety with a new chicane design used during yesterday’s two practice sessions.
Today’s incredible display from Márquez has heightened hopes that Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS will be celebrating its sixth win of the season in a landmark race, which will be the 250th start in the intermediate World Championship for the Belgium-based squad.
The extreme heat and humidity today posed a tough proposition for World Championship leader Franco Morbidelli. He worked tirelessly with his crew to find a set-up that helped him cope better with a lack of grip on the slippery surface at the 4.6km track.
And his efforts were rewarded when he took a place inside the top six, as he looks to build on his 13-point buffer over Tom Lüthi in the standings.
Álex Márquez: 1st – 1’49.408
“I am really happy to be in pole position again in front of my home crowd. The heat is so intense that it is hard to be fast on such a slippery and bumpy surface and right now I just feel like jumping in a swimming pool to cool down! We’ve done a great job all weekend and the pole is fantastic to achieve. I was fast in FP3 this morning and felt confident I could battle for pole and I’m delighted I could get the job done. I made a great lap early in the session and I am so motivated to win in front of my home fans tomorrow. It is a big race for my team also, so it would be extra special to win for them with my fans cheering me on.”
Franco Morbidelli: 6th – 1’50.271
“Considering how difficult this weekend has been for me so far, I am happy to finish inside the top six in qualifying. It has been a tough weekend because I have struggled to find a positive feeling in the hot conditions. Tomorrow is the race though and I am sure we will be in better shape for that, which is the most important part of the weekend. Like in Mugello, I will need to be smart and make sure I take important points for the World Championship.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“This race is a big weekend for the Marc VDS Racing Team because it marks our 250th start in the intermediate category. We have come from being a little-known team to the reference point in Moto2, and I think today proved that again with another pole position. Álex has done a great job in very demanding conditions and his lap time at the start of qualifying was very impressive. I must say he’s looked very strong all weekend and expect him to be fighting for the win again like he did in Jerez. Franco has clearly had some problems finding his usually competitive pace this weekend but he will be strong in the race like always. We’ll work hard overnight and give him a good bike for the race and hopefully we’ll be celebrating more success in such an important race for everybody that has been on the journey so far with Marc VDS Racing.”