Morbidelli and Márquez make solid progress in Le Mans
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez enjoyed a solid start to the fifth round of the 2016 Moto2 World Championship at the world famous Bugatti track in Le Mans.
Italian Morbidelli was comfortably inside the top 10 in both of today’s 45-minute practice sessions, which took place in welcome but surprisingly warm and sunny conditions at the 4.2km track.
Seventh fastest in FP1, Morbidelli improved his pace by 0.4s in this afternoon’s second session. He dropped down to eighth position overall after being slowed by a minor front-end issue, but he was just 0.4s away from fourth place and he is full of confidence he can fight for the front row in tomorrow’s decisive qualifying session.
Spaniard Álex Márquez spent today working intensely on improving front-end confidence at the stop-and-go track, which features numerous hard braking zones where front stability is absolutely essential.
The 20-year was satisfied with progress after a lap of 1.38.540 left him 15th on the timesheets and just over 0.5s from challenging for a place in the top six.
Franco Morbidelli: 8th – 1’38.113
“We had some small issues in the second session that prevented me from lapping any faster and that is a pity because I was happy with my performance this morning. We need to investigate in more detail what was the cause of the problem but I am sure we can solve it and I can lap faster and more comfortably tomorrow.”
Álex Márquez: 15th – 1’38.540
“Le Mans is a completely different track compared to those we raced at so far this year and we need to adapt a little bit. I seem to struggle here more than at other tracks but in general the position is not so bad. There’s no doubt I can improve my feeling with the bike and I can improve a lot. The main issue in the middle of the corner when you have no brake or no throttle. But I think we can make a good step tomorrow.”
Naoya Kaneko: Álex Márquez Crew Chief
“Today was quite positive and we have made some progress with the set-up. This track last year was the most difficult for Álex and in FP2 a year ago we were two seconds off the leader. Now we are only one second behind and the gap to the top five is just half-a-second. We need to improve our weak points, which is the second and final sector where you need a lot of front confidence. That is where he is lacking the most and where we can pick up some time.”