Morbidelli sets hot pace at cool Sachsenring

Morbidelli sets hot pace at cool Sachsenring

Cool, cloudy and breezy conditions didn’t prevent in-form Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli from shining on the opening day of Moto2 practice at Germany’s famous Sachsenring track.

Morbidelli brilliantly carried on the momentum gained from his first podium of 2016 at the Dutch TT last month to set the sixth fastest time this morning in conditions more associated with Phillip Island’s spectacular coastal track in Australia.

Air temperature struggled to reach 13 degrees for FP1, and a short rain shower just prior to the start of FP2 meant a delayed start to this afternoon’s action for Italian Morbidelli and the 28-strong field preparing for round nine of this year’s World Championship.

It didn’t take long for Morbidelli to get back in the groove once the scattered showers had dispersed and a lap of 1.25.413 looked to have secured him top spot in a close second practice session.

Only an inspired final lap of 1.25.244 from Dutch TT winner Takaaki Nakagami pushed Morbidelli back to second position, but the 21-year-old has demonstrated that he will be a serious challenger for the podium in Sunday’s 29-lap race.

Álex Márquez was less than 0.2s off the top 10 and just over a second off the fastest pace, but the competitive nature of Moto2 was evident again today, with the Spaniard’s best lap of 1.26.286 placing him 16th on the timesheets.

Franco Morbidelli: 2nd – 1’25.413
“Today was a very good day, despite the tricky weather conditions. I felt confident immediately on the bike after the podium in Assen and we made a couple of modifications on the bike for FP2 and I felt better. The weather prevented us from completing all the work we wanted to do today but everything we have done has taken us in a positive direction, so I am feeling optimistic that I can be strong again here in Germany like I was in Assen.”

Álex Márquez: 16th – 1’26.283
“The weather has been strange today and a little bit difficult for everybody. We made a really good job today and even though we couldn’t make so many laps we were able to find a good direction with the bike setting. On my final exit in FP2 I had a small problem with the front and we need to try and understand what happened and how to fix it. The lap times are very close and I think if we can improve our package then I can be much more competitive. Today wasn’t bad but I think our potential is higher than 16th and I look forward to showing that tomorrow.”

Pete Benson: Franco Morbidelli Chief Engineer
“It has been a positive start to the weekend from Franco and I always hoped that his podium in Assen was going to be a turning point for us this year. We’d done a lot of work on the bike in the early part of the year that didn’t really pan out and got to Assen and got things working well. This is a track that Franco has always gone well on in the past, so we were expecting good things. The weather prevented us from getting all our work done today but he is on the pace and that is all that really matters at the moment.”