Morbidelli and Márquez make big progress in Qatar

Morbidelli and Márquez make big progress in Qatar

Losail, Qatar – 17 March 2016: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez made big progress during an incredibly close opening night of Moto2 action at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

Italian Morbidelli shaved exactly a second off his best time in tonight’s FP2, with a personal best lap of 1.59.896 securing him an impressive sixth position at the floodlit Doha venue.

And Álex Márquez was able to improve his pace by close to 0.9s after a lap of 2.00.049 placed the Spaniard in an encouraging 10th place in the combined rankings.

It was an encouraging start for Morbidelli and Márquez on an opening night of practice that highlighted just how fierce and tight the battle for Moto2 World Championship glory will be in 2016.

The top 18 riders were split by less than a second and Morbidelli and Márquez go into tomorrow night’s single 45-minute practice session confident that overnight improvements will strengthen their challenge ahead of Sunday’s 20-lap season opening night race.

Franco Morbidelli: 6th – 1’59.896
“In the first practice session we just tried to adapt to the condition of the track and it was more like a shakedown for me and the bike. We started to improve a lot in FP2 and at the end I was quite happy with my pace. It was hard to concentrate for an outright fast lap time at the end of the session because there was a lot of traffic and I couldn’t find space for a clean lap. We can gain some time but I am really happy with the work of the team. They are working so hard for me and we’re making good progress and it is a lot of fun to work with my crew, who always give their maximum for me to be faster.”

Álex Márquez: 10th – 2’00.049
“We need to improve tomorrow and to be honest I need more help from the bike to be able to push a bit more and be faster. We are not so far from the top lap time and everything is very close but we need be more constant with the pace. We definitely have a good base for tomorrow and I think if we can improve in the first sector I will be much more competitive. I lose two-tenths in the first sector alone and I am only 0.4s off the best time, so it is clear where the improvements can be made”

Pete Benson: Franco Morbidelli’s Chief Mechanic
“It was a really good practice. Franco has just been slowly getting up to speed and getting happier with the bike. The test we did here last week was really beneficial and our best of the winter, so it shows the value of testing outside of Europe. Franco is happy with the bike and we are making important progress each time he goes out on the bike. We are still about 0.5s away from the best pace, so there is work to do, but we are confident that he’ll be in the fight on Sunday night.”