Masterful Márquez dominates day one in Jerez
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Álex Márquez made the perfect start to the crucial European phase of the 2017 Moto2 World Championship in Jerez today.
The big home crowd favourite was in unstoppable form in wet conditions this morning, with no other rider on a treacherously slippery surface able to lap within a second of the sensational Spaniard, who dominated FP1 with a lap of 1’58.299.
This afternoon’s second session took part in dry but windy conditions, but it was Márquez once again who remained in the ascendancy with another impressive performance.
Two-and-a-half minutes were left on the clock when Márquez completed his domination of day one with a faultless lap of 1’43.121 putting him 0.158s clear of closest rival Dominique Aegerter.
World Championship leader Franco Morbidelli had a low-key start to proceedings by his normally exceptionally high standards.
The Italian, who has been in imperious form with three wins from three races so far this season, finished just outside the top 10 on a wet track this morning.
Normal service looked like being resumed in FP2 when he seized back the initiative to lead the standings before he made a rare mistake and crashed out uninjured at turn 9.
The ice cool Italian quickly recovered his composure and was able to finish fifth on the timesheets with a best of 1’43.417.
Álex Márquez: 1st – 1’43.121
“It has been a very positive start to my home race. It is always special racing at home and we could not have made a better start than being fastest in FP1 and FP2. I am pleased as well because I was fast in both the wet and dry, so it shows we are competitive in all conditions. Tomorrow we will need to improve and work more on the dry set-up but I am satisfied. I was consistent in both conditions and I feel prepared for anything, but thankfully it looks like the weather is going to be dry for the rest of the weekend. It is only Friday and while it has been a good start, we need to keep our concentration and focus to make sure we are starting from the top six after qualifying.”
Franco Morbidelli: 5th – 1.43.417
“We experienced quite different conditions today and it is clear that we have some work to do. At the moment, my speed and pace is not super. It is not bad either but you always want to be faster. I am not so far away from the top spot but we need to reduce the gap tomorrow to be fighting for the front row of the grid again.”
Naoya Kaneko: Álex Márquez Crew Chief
“We were quietly confident coming into this weekend because Álex was fastest and strong at the official test in Jerez a few weeks ago. He is very relaxed despite the added pressure of this being his home race. It is a good start to be fastest in FP1 and FP2 but what really counts is Sunday and we need to improve to be as competitive as we want to be. The improvement from the soft rear tyre is not so much right now and we need to find a few tenths to improve for qualifying.”