Morbidelli and Márquez turn up heat in boiling Barcelona
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez were in untouchable form on an opening day of practice at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya that the pair completely dominated under sunny skies.
A late front-end washout at the tricky downhill turn five left-hander didn’t take the gloss off a brilliant ride from World Championship leader Morbidelli, who topped the practice timesheets with a fastest pace of 1'49.731.
The Italian was the only rider to break the 1'50 barrier and in scorching hot conditions he finished a commanding 0.316s clear of teammate Márquez after knocking 0.8s off his best time on his way to third spot in FP1.
It took Morbidelli’s late lap stunner to deny Márquez the chance to delight his passionate home support in Catalunya after the Spaniard logged an impressive lap of 1'50.047 to put him in charge of the second session.
Márquez who won the Moto3 race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from pole position in 2014, reeled off a series of consistent laps in the low 1.50 bracket to show he is primed and ready for a crack at winning his second Moto2 race of the 2017 World Championship campaign.
Franco Morbidelli: – 1st 1’49.731
“The second session was pretty eventful with the late crash but I am happy with how today went. We made big progress to improve the set-up of the bike but I made a mistake in turn five and I crashed. It was unfortunate, but despite that error my feeling on the bike is very good. We still have some points where we can improve but I am sure we will be going into the race on Sunday prepared to give our maximum.”
Álex Márquez: 2nd – 1’50.047
“I’m happy with how today went because we had a few problems in FP1 this morning and it was the same situation at the start of this afternoon’s session. We kept back some soft tyres today with only four allowed in the allocation and we need two for qualifying and one for the race, so it was only at the last exit when I tried a soft tyre for the first time. I felt better in terms of my pace and consistency but my focus will be on improving the feeling on the front end. I’m quite happy now but if we can improve in that area I will be much happier. Today gave me the opportunity to try the new final sector, which includes the chicane, and for me it is better because of the safety.”