Morbidelli and Márquez set for intense Misano contest
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez are anticipating an intense battle in scorching hot conditions in tomorrow’s 26-lap Moto2 race at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.
Morbidelli will start his home round from the middle of the second row of the grid in fifth position after the Italian backed up his excellent second place in practice with a strong performance in qualifying.
The 21-year-old kept cool and composed in red-hot temperatures to shrug off minor rear tyre issues that ultimately compromised his quest for a second front row start of the season.
Morbidelli set his best lap of 1’37.861 on worn tyres in the final moments of this afternoon’s 45-minute qualifying session. And his brilliant late lap in race trim means Morbidelli goes into round 13 of the World Championship full of confidence that he can compete for a fourth podium in the last six races.
Márquez also left his time attack until the closing stages of a session that took place in gloriously sunny conditions that saw the ambient temperature nudge close to a physically taxing 30 degrees.
The Spaniard ended final practice this morning in a strong eighth place and he improved by almost half-a-second in qualifying.
A time of 1’38.051 secured Márquez a place on the fourth row of the grid but his race pace throughout the weekend suggests the 20-year-old will be able to charge through the pack to launch a top six challenge.
Franco Morbidelli: 5th – 1’37.861
“I’m pretty satisfied to be in the middle of the second row of the grid in fifth because I had some problems at the start of the session. I managed to recover well and I was able to set my best lap time at the end of the session on used tyres. The pace was really good and I am really happy about that because it means I should be strong in terms of my pace for the race. I will attack from the start and I am confident I have the pace to fight for the podium, which will be fantastic in front of my home crowd.”
Álex Márquez: 12th – 1’38.051
“I’m happy with my race pace and I think in qualifying I was just missing a tenth and the result would have been much better. Just a small improvement in lap time would have put me on the second row but I already knew it was going to be close in qualifying. I tried to push hard at the beginning of the session when it was slightly easier to make a good lap time but I struggled a little in the hot conditions. We know the race will be run in extremely hot weather tomorrow, so it is going to be a very tough race physically for me and also for the performance of the tyres. A lot will depend on the start and the first lap, so I am confident I can get away with the lead group and put up a strong fight.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Fifth place on the grid for Franco is a good performance but I am convinced it could have been better and he should be starting from the front row. He had an issue with the rear tyre and unfortunately it is not the first time that has happened in 2016 and it definitely denied him the chance to fight for the top three. In the end he had to use one tyre for the whole session, so I have to congratulate Franco on doing a brilliant job to get on row two. He’s happy with the set-up of the bike and we know he is always a fighter in the race and he can make a good result. Álex did a good job because we have always felt the tight and twisty nature of this track doesn’t particularly suit his riding style. But he showed a lot of potential with his last lap and I firmly believe that he can be fighting for the top six and Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS can have a strong day tomorrow.”