Morbidelli and Márquez ready for manic Mugello battle
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez are primed for an intense battle in tomorrow’s 21-lap Italian Moto2 Grand Prix at the magnificent Mugello track in Tuscany.
Morbidelli and Márquez were just over 0.4s off pole man Sam Lowes but an extremely close qualifying session meant the pair will start alongside each other on the fifth row of the grid for the sixth round of this year’s World Championship campaign.
Italian Morbidelli will start his home race challenge from 13th position on the grid after he unfortunately missed the ideal window to post a faster lap time in much warmer and sunnier conditions compared to yesterday’s cool practice.
His best time of 1.52.394 was 0.2s inside former Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat’s race record set when the Spaniard won in Mugello a year ago, and he was only 0.2s away from a place on the second row.
Márquez was also left to reflect on what might have been after he went into qualifying confident of achieving a top 10 result following a promising performance in practice.
His personal best of 1.52.399 was only 0.005s behind Morbidelli, but the Spaniard is determined to deliver a strong challenge for the top 10 tomorrow.
Franco Morbidelli: 13th – 1’52.394
“Looking at the timesheets it appears that the best time to make the lap time was at the beginning of the qualifying session. But at that point my feeling with the bike wasn’t that great and I missed the optimum point to put in a lap time. It is a pity because losing just four-tenths means I’ve got to start from the fifth row and that obviously makes the race a little more complicated, particularly at the beginning. It is going to be a busy home Grand Prix but my pace in FP3 with the hard rear tyre was good and I am still confident of the weekend ending with a positive outcome.”
Álex Márquez: 14th – 1.52’399
“Qualifying in 14th place is not the position I expected but this track is good for overtaking, so I think we can recover a lot in the race. I’m happy with my rhythm and all weekend I have been making very good practice starts, so I must make sure I start strong again tomorrow. I am still optimistic that I can take my first top 10 finish of the season tomorrow and that is what I will be pushing at 100% to achieve.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Today’s qualifying session was incredibly close and we are within half-a-second of pole position. But to have Franco and Álex on the fifth row is not an ideal position on the grid. I can’t deny we had expectations that both could qualify further up the grid and I hope they can improve to be more competitive in the race. I don’t think our qualifying position accurately reflects our potential, but Franco and Álex have to prove that now tomorrow.”