Morbidelli lays down early marker in Valencia
Franco Morbidelli showed again why he is the current star performer in the Moto2 World Championship after the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider fired his Kalex machine to the top of the practice timesheets in Valencia today.
The Italian adopted a steady rather than his usual spectacular approach to finish sixth in an FP1 this morning that took place under cloud free blue skies.
Hotter temperatures this afternoon presented Morbidelli with the perfect opportunity to improve his pace and the 21-year-old duly obliged with another eye-catching display.
He improved his pace by over 0.5s to set an unbeatable time of 1’35.433 in the closing minutes of FP2.
Today’s start was the perfect way for Morbidelli to begin the final round of 2016 in which he will be seeking to extend his golden run of form that has taken him to the podium in the last four races.
Álex Márquez also marched up the timesheets this afternoon after he’d finished uncharacteristically outside of the top 20 in cool conditions this morning. Márquez may have finished down in 21st position but he was only one second off the best pace in yet another session that highlighted the close and competitive nature of this year’s Moto2 battle.
Márquez was also able to find more feeling and confidence in the warmer conditions this afternoon and he was able to rocket up the standings into 10th position, with a 1’36.081 putting him just over 0.3s outside of the top three.
The Spaniard finished 13th overall today but the closeness of the times suggests the 20-year-old will be in contention for a top six place on the grid for the season-ending 27-lap race.
Franco Morbidelli: 1st – 1’35’443
“Today was a really good day, especially during FP2 because I was very fast and also very consistent and my pace was strong. We have to try and keep this pace and also try and improve a little bit but I am really pleased with how it went today. I’ve got to say a big thanks to my team again because they gave me a great package today and I could push at a very fast pace without feeling like I was taking too many risks. It is also good to see Marc van der Straten back in the box today. I am really determined to end the season in a positive way for him and today was the perfect start.”
Álex Márquez: 13th – 1’36’081
“Today was a decent day but we know we have to find some improvements and give me more feeling from the bike. Right now I don’t feel like I can ride how I would like and it is clear that we need to make another step. A few other riders came here to test recently so we are playing a little bit of catch up but I am really concentrated to do a good job improving the bike in FP3 tomorrow so we can put up a strong challenge in qualifying.”