Morbidelli and Márquez dominate in Doha
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez are favourites to battle for pole position for Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix.
Morbidelli and Márquez dominated this evening’s final free practice session under floodlights at the Losail International Circuit.
With a lap of 2’00.349 Morbidelli topped the times with Márquez just 0.023s behind with a best lap of 2’00.372 in clear but cool conditions in advance of Saturday’s qualifying session.
Morbidelli and Márquez finished 1-2 on combined times across the three free practice sessions.
Despite an afternoon rain shower cleaning the 5.4km Losail Circuit both Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders went quicker than in Thursday’s practice.
Both riders made important set-up changes to fine tune their bikes in readiness for an attack on crucial front row starting positions for Sunday’s 20-lap race.
Franco Morbidelli: 1st – 2’00.349
“It was a good session for me because I was immediately fast and continued to build on my pace to be ready for the race. The team made a couple of good set-up changes, which improved the bike so this added to my confidence. Now I am curious to see how qualifying goes, I want to be fast because this was my weak point last season but I have thought a lot about how to improve this over the winter.”
Álex Márquez: 2nd – 2’00.372
“I’m really happy because we have done a really good job in the three practice sessions especially to have a good rhythm for the race on used tyres. On a new tyre I pushed a little too hard for a fast time so I need to relax a little for the time attack but I am improving in this area. My aim in qualifying is to be on the front row, but anywhere on the front two rows makes it much easier for the race.”
Naoya Kaneko: Crew Chief – Álex Márquez
“Álex now understands a lot more about how to maximise the grip level of a new tyre for a fast lap time, which is always important for qualifying. During practice here and in the winter tests Álex has made some changes to his riding style for a fast lap. If Álex improves his qualifying I feel this will be the platform for much better race results this season.”