Morbidelli and Márquez ready to race in Qatar
Losail, Qatar – 19 March 2016: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez have qualified fifth and 13th respectively for the Qatar Grand Prix.
Morbidelli slashed three tenths of a second from his practice pace to secure his second row start for Sunday's opening round of the Moto2 World Championship.
The 21-year-old Italian is confident of challenging for the podium in his race debut for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS in the 20-lap contest at the Losail International Circuit.
Morbidelli has been focussing on a strategy to deliver a fast qualifying lap to back-up his front-running race pace. He missed a front row start by just one tenth of a second.
Unfortunately for Márquez the chatter issues that appeared in free practice again slowed his pace in qualifying and he faces a tough assignment from the fifth row of the grid.
The red hot pace in qualifying saw 14 riders within one second of pole position, setting the scene for a torrid contest in the 20-lap Moto2 race.
Franco Morbidelli: 5th – 1'59.509
“I'm really happy for this result. The changes we made after practice were positive and I could build my pace during the session so I have to thank my crew chief Pete Benson and all my team. For the race it looks like Jonas Folger and Sam Lowes are quite fast but I'm ready for the battle and to fight for the podium.”
Álex Márquez: 13th – 2'00.009
“We had a lot of problems in qualifying with chatter and despite the changes we made we still need some more adjustment for the race. My rhythm for the race is good but when you start 13th in a Moto2 race it is difficult to be in the front, so I will need a good start and try to pass many riders in the opening laps and keep a strong pace.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I was pleasantly surprised by Franco's qualifying lap and he was still improving on his final lap and he did his times without the benefit of a slipstream, which can mean a couple of tenths at Qatar. I expect Franco to make a strong race. After practice I thought Álex had the potential to be faster so now we need to find some set-up solutions to make him more comfortable for the race and allow him to fight for a good result.”