Morbidelli ready for podium battle in Argentina
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli is ready to race for the podium in Argentina after the Italian secured a place on the second row of the grid at the end of a close Moto2 qualifying session today.
Morbidelli will start from fifth position for the second race in succession after a best lap of 1.43.733 left him less than 0.1s off claiming only the third front row start of his Moto2 World Championship career.
The 21-year-old has been fast and consistent on worn tyres throughout the Termas de Rio Hondo weekend and he is confident of replicating the brilliant podium challenge he delivered last month in Qatar.
After his encouraging fifth place in yesterday’s practice, Álex Márquez was unable to capitalise fully on that positive start and he will start from 15th position on the grid.
In much cooler temperatures, and with grip vastly improved from a treacherously slippery surface yesterday, his best lap of 1’44.291 was just 0.2s away from the top 10.
Márquez has shown he has a fast and consistent race rhythm that should allow him to fight for the top six if he can make a good start to the 23-lap race.
Franco Morbidelli: 5th – 1’43.733
“It is always good to start on the first three rows, so I am satisfied. It has been a difficult weekend with the changing weather and track conditions and in qualifying I didn’t have my best feeling. But my pace is good and we have the potential to fight for the podium. I’m confident for the race tomorrow and I am ready for a really big battle. It should be exciting for the fans with the times so close and I am ready to make sure this time around I finish on the podium after Qatar.”
Álex Márquez: 15th – 1’44.154
“We knew from last year that one area I had to improve was qualifying and we have not completely solved it. My rhythm is pretty strong and my feeling with the bike is good but the start in Moto2 is so important and it is difficult when you qualify in a low position. I’ve got to make a good start tomorrow and be more focused than in Qatar so I don’t make any mistakes. The first target is to see the chequered flag but I know I have the pace to make a good result. I’m only 0.2s off the third row, which is not much, but to give myself a better chance I have to improve qualifying.”
Pete Benson: Franco Morbidelli Chief Engineer
“We’ve got to be really happy with Franco getting on the second row of the grid again because the track conditions have been very difficult this weekend. The track has been dirty and yesterday it was incredibly hot, so it has been a little bit different to everywhere we have tested with Franco. But we have made some positive steps and we’ve had some good progress made with some new pieces from Öhlins that should help us improve in the race as well. We are still aiming for the front row but the gap to the front is less than Qatar and we can be happy with Franco’s pace.”