Morbidelli and Márquez find fast rhythm in Mugello
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez made a morale-boosting start in Mugello today when both set competitive lap times inside the top 10 in Moto2 practice.
Morbidelli was able to take advantage of both 45-minute practice sessions being run on a dry surface at the scenic and stunningly fast 5.2km track.
Fifth quickest in FP1, Morbidelli fully exploited improved grip and slightly higher temperatures this afternoon to lap 1.4s faster, and his best of 1.53.053 moved him one place up the rankings into fourth.
Inspired by front-end improvements made during a one-day test session earlier this week at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Álex Márquez enjoyed a positive start in Italy.
The Spaniard gained an impressive 2.1s this afternoon to end FP2 in a hugely promising 10th place in a close session that concluded with Márquez just over 0.3s off reigning World Champion Johann Zarco’s best pace.
Franco Morbidelli: 4th – 1’53.054
“It has been a good first day at my home Grand Prix and I’m really happy with the work we have done to improve the bike. I still need to get a bit more feeling from the front-end but this has been the case for some time. But today I think we have found a good direction and I am hopeful we can find the same improvement tomorrow as we did today. I am close to the fastest time in what was a very close session, so any small amount of time we can gain will be crucial when you see how tight the lap times are.”
Álex Márquez: 10th – 1’53.287
“I am really happy with how today went because we worked a lot with used tyres, particularly with the soft option that nobody else did. I need to adapt my style more to suit the hard tyre but I think we have progressed in a good way. More important than my position is the gap to the top, which is only 0.3s and that gives us a lot of optimism for the rest of the weekend. My pace is very good and if we can make a step with the turning of the bike I expect to be even more competitive tomorrow.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Today has been a very positive start to the weekend for Franco and Álex and it is good to see them both so competitive in an incredibly close practice. Franco was only a tenth off the best time and we made a big change in that session which is not our normal strategy with him. But I think we found a good direction and we can be confident he can challenge for the front row in tomorrow’s qualifying. Álex looked very strong today and to be only 0.3s off the best time is a big plus for him. He seems to have recovered some of the confidence lost with his crashes of late and I look forward to him continuing this momentum forward for the rest of the weekend.”