Morbidelli in the mix in Motorland
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli ended a weather-hit opening day of Moto2 practice in Motorland Aragon in positive fashion, with the World Championship leader comfortably finishing inside the top three on combined times.
Wet and windy conditions meant it was a complicated FP1 for Morbidelli, who was satisfied with a top six finish in a session where a cautious approach was the most sensible strategy.
This afternoon’s second session avoided a repeat of the earlier heavy cloudbursts, but with little sun breaking through the heavy cloud cover, the track still wasn’t in ideal condition and optimum grip was hard to find.
The 5.078km track surface was still slick and greasy from the earlier rain and just how difficult it was to push close to the limit was evident in the final times.
Italian Morbidelli fired in an impressive lap of 1’54.633 to finish in second position behind Mattia Pasini, but his pace was almost two seconds slower than the 2015 lap record held by Álex Rins.
It was no surprise that teammate Álex Márquez adopted a calm approach to proceedings in the wet this morning, given that the left hip injury that ruled him out of the previous round in San Marino has still not completely healed.
A steady and solid ride in slippery conditions was rewarded with a hard fought 14th place but the Spanish rider opted to limit his time out on track in FP2. With damp patches still scattered around Motorland Aragon, Márquez decided it was pointless pushing and taking any unnecessary risks.
He completed 10 laps in FP2 before deciding to prematurely end his participation in the 45-minute session and instead he preferred to conserve energy and be as best prepared as possible for what is expected to be a significant improvement in the weather tomorrow.
Franco Morbidelli: 2nd – 1’54.633
“I’m pretty happy with how today went, despite the difficult conditions. This morning was wet and we could experiment with a lot of stuff and we found some interesting things that should help us in the rain in the future. I felt strong this afternoon too, even though we can see from the times that the conditions were far from perfect. The grip wasn’t good and the track was pretty dirty. It’s important to get the feeling back in the dry and the lap time is already good. Now we just have to see what the weather is like for tomorrow, but hopefully it is better than what we experienced today.”
Álex Márquez: 29th – 1'56.840
“It was good to get back on the bike for FP1 this morning, even if the conditions weren't ideal. I still have a little bit of pain with the injury from Misano, but it's manageable and it isn't causing me any issues. This afternoon the conditions were mixed once again and it made no sense to just continue doing laps when the weather for tomorrow and race day will be completely different. We did what we needed to do in FP2 and then I decided to sit out the last part of the session and rest, ready for tomorrow's all-important qualifying.”
Pete Benson: Franco Morbidelli Chief Engineer
“Unfortunately, today was a bit wasted because of the weather. This morning the conditions weren’t fully wet for long enough to try a couple of things we wanted to look at with our wet setting. And this afternoon the track is just so dirty and in such bad condition that it really is just a matter of riding around trying to clean the surface up and hope for better tomorrow. This afternoon was pretty good for us and thankfully the forecasts say the weather should be better, so we are looking in pretty good shape.”