Morbidelli and Márquez make strong start in soggy Sepang
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli got the biggest weekend of his racing career off to a positive start in mixed conditions at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit today.
The Italian has his first opportunity to be crowned 2017 Moto2 World Champion in Sunday’s 19-lap race, and he calmed any early nerves with an assured display in a dry FP1 this morning that was followed by a rain-affected second session.
Morbidelli’s 2’06.929 set this morning was only 0.073s away from being the fastest time of the day behind Phillip Island winner Miguel Oliveira. He then delivered a composed ride into the top six in tricky conditions this afternoon on a full wet track.
The big change in conditions didn’t diminish the Marc VDS challenge and Márquez picked up the baton in brilliant fashion to showcase his renowned wet weather skills after he finished on the fringes of the top six in FP1.
Fresh from a stunning rain ride to victory in Japan less than two weeks ago, Márquez fired in a late lap of 2’24.074 to head FP2 on his Kalex chassis to show again he is the current rain master in the Moto2 World Championship.
Everyone at Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS would like to pass on their sincere condolences to the family, friends and team of Moto2 Team Owner Stefan Kiefer, who sadly passed away on the eve of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Franco Morbidelli: – 2nd 2’06.929
“Today has been a good start to such an important weekend for me and the team. I was immediately fast and into a good rhythm in the dry this morning. It took me a little longer to find my pace and confidence in the wet this afternoon but I’m happy to be back in the top six. I wanted to get this weekend off to a solid and steady start and that’s exactly what happened, so we have something to build on for qualifying and the race.”
Álex Márquez: 7th – 2’07.086
“This morning I felt really good right from the start of FP1. I found my pace very quickly but what satisfied me the most was my consistency. I was only P7 because I didn’t switch to the soft tyre at the end of the session, so we know we have some margin to improve. At the start of FP2 I had a strange sensation with the new rain tyre because I was very slow in conditions where I know I am usually fast. I used another tyre and immediately I found a big chunk of time to set the best time. I feel good and positive and now the focus will be to be as prepared as possible for changing conditions because the weather can be so unpredictable here.”