Morbidelli and Márquez complete eventful first day in Austria
The opening day of Moto2 practice at the breathtaking Spielberg track in Austria turned out to be an eventful one for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez.
A stunning last lap of 1’30.211 in dry and muggy conditions in FP2 this afternoon fired Morbidelli to the top of the timesheets, which was the perfect response from a heavy fall for the Italian at turn four in a rain-disrupted first practice session earlier today.
Morbidelli’s late charge saw him brilliantly conquer closest title challenger Tom Lüthi by just 0.031s, with just one second splitting the top 18 in yet another exciting and close 45-minute practice session.
Márquez too was a faller in perilously tricky conditions in FP1, which had started on a dry track. Morbidelli and Márquez only completed a handful of laps before torrential rain battered the Spielberg track.
The Spaniard fell in the braking zone while climbing the steep rise into the first corner in an incident that also involved Danny Kent. Like Morbidelli, there was relief inside the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS garage that Márquez was uninjured in his high-speed spill.
Márquez rebounded strongly in FP2 and he ended the day in an encouraging seventh place with a time of 1’30.618 that was only just over 0.3s away from the top three.
Franco Morbidelli: 1st – 1’30.211
“I’m really happy to be fastest at the end of today because it has not been all plain sailing for us. It was a long day because my crew had to rebuild my bike after this morning’s big crash, so to give them P1 to say thanks for their effort is perfect. You can always improve and I’m sure we still have more potential to come. This is a short track with not a lot of corners, so you must be very precise with the set-up. In the rain this morning it was quite complicated. You have three big braking points at this track and in those parts there is a lot of rubber debris left by all the cars that use this facility. If you don’t get the right line in the braking it is easy to crash because those pieces of rubber mean you have very little grip in the wet.”
Álex Márquez: 7th – 1’30.618
“I feel fast on this track but my main problem is the third sector. I’m not so fast in the two left corners in that section and I can’t get the bike to turn so well. The problem is from the front but my rhythm is not bad. The good thing is we know where we can improve. This morning gave us the first chance to assess this track in the rain and it was difficult to understand why we saw so many crashes in the braking points. I can’t really explain it but it was very difficult to understand where you can push going into the corner. It seems to be an issue with a lot of rubber particles left by the cars here. I am sorry to Danny for the incident this morning. I immediately went to see him to apologise but there was nothing I could do to avoid that situation.”