Morbidelli and Márquez blast to front row in Austria
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez will start together on the front row of the grid for the seventh time in 11 races in 2017, when the battle for the Moto2 World Championship intensifies in Austria tomorrow.
The spectacular Spielberg track served up a dramatic finale in a tense and nail-biting qualifying session in which Morbidelli and Márquez constantly posed a threat for the top three places on the grid.
An impressive early lap of 1’29.394 from Mattia Pasini threw down the gauntlet to Morbidelli and Márquez, and it was a challenge they quickly embraced, even working in tandem on track in a tremendous display of team riding to try and overhaul the experienced Italian.
Morbidelli launched his trademark late charge for pole position on his final lap and the World Championship leader delivered an inch perfect ride around the undulating Spielberg track.
His faultless attack looked to have been timed to perfection but he crossed the line just 0.001s behind Pasini at the chequered flag.
Morbidelli’s blistering late speed inspired Márquez to his eighth front row start of the season after he managed to latch onto the back of his hard charging teammate for the crucial final stages of this afternoon’s qualifying session.
Using Morbidelli as the ideal reference in front of him, the Spaniard was able to post a personal best lap of 1’29.570, with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS now well primed to claim a ninth victory in 11 rounds of this year’s campaign.
Franco Morbidelli: 2nd – 1’29.395
“It’s a pity to miss out on pole position by such a small margin but the truth is that I am really happy because my crew worked incredibly well to improve the bike for qualifying and we made a great step from FP3. They always keep believing and keep working hard and finally we came very close to another pole position. We showed today my one lap pace is strong and I think my rhythm for the race is quite strong too, so we can start tomorrow with a lot of optimism of fighting for another win.”
Álex Márquez: 3rd – 1’29.570
“I am very happy to be on the front here in Austria because I have been close to the front all weekend and it was good to make sure we were strong in qualifying. For some reason since we returned from the summer break I have been struggling more than usual in the time attack, so the front row is an excellent result. I have demonstrated good pace for the race, so I don’t think there is any reason we can’t be finishing inside the top three in the race.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Today has been a very successful one for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS because we saw both Franco and Álex doing a fantastic job together to get on the front row. They both had weak points on the circuit but worked together with some very good teamwork to improve and I am very proud of them for that. At this level there is a lot of intense competition but today they showed they are still willing to help each other and think about the team as well as individual success. We now have a strong position for both going into the race and it should be a good fight with Pasini. I like it when he is at the front because it is always a strong battle. I’ll be happy though as long as we beat him!”