Top three for Lowes at cold and windy Motorland Aragon
Sunny but exceptionally cold conditions couldn’t stop Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Sam Lowes from continuing his sensational run of form in Motorland Aragon today, with Augusto Fernandez completing a productive day of set-up work on his Kalex machine.
- Bitterly cold and blustery conditions this morning meant Race Direction opted to delay the opening practice sessions for MotoGP and Moto2 by 30-minutes to allow track temperatures to increase after overnight ambient temperatures plummeted to just three degrees. Tomorrow’s schedule has also been pushed back by 30-minutes on safety grounds.
- Once the action did get underway, Lowes was one of the fastest men circulating the 5.3km track and the Briton continued his awesome recent spell by topping the timesheets in FP1 and finishing third in FP2, while Fernandez battled an arm pump issue to finish 20th.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 20th, 1:53.941, 33 laps
- Fernandez went out in this morning’s sunny but wintry conditions brimming with confidence after a season best fourth in France last weekend and he completed 17 laps to better understand how hard he could push on a track surface that only reached a chilly 15 degrees.
- There was a significant improvement in conditions for the afternoon action with track temperature up to 22 degrees and with less wind to contend with Fernandez needed just four laps to lap faster than his quickest pace in FP1.
- A key focus of today was to experiment with a revised riding position to help relieve stress and pressure on the Spaniard’s right arm after some discomfort experienced during last weekend’s sensational surge from 15th to fourth in France.Fernandez also worked on chassis modifications to improve rear grip for the high-speed and undulating Motorland Aragon layout and he ended the day in 20th position overall.
“I will keep giving my maximum to do the best performance”
“It has been a difficult day. At the end of the race in Le Mans I was suffering with a bit of arm pump. I’ve tried to rest in the short space of time coming into this weekend but unfortunately it has not been enough time. I wasn’t feeling at 100% and after the first run I already felt a little bit tired with the arm. The second run was a very similar feeling to the end of the race in Le Mans. We were still able to collect a lot of good information, but I was expecting a much bigger improvement when I pushed on a new soft tyre. But my riding is not flowing, and I will work a lot tonight to try and improve the situation with the arm. Hopefully I can be back to normal but if the problem continues, I will keep giving my maximum to do the best performance I can.”
/// SAM LOWES: 3rd, 1:52.854, 28 laps
- Fresh from his stunning victory in Le Mans five days ago, in-form Lowes instantly felt confident this morning and once a lap of 1:53.989 moved him into P1 with just 12 minutes of the session completed he was never knocked off top spot for the remainder of FP1.
- Lowes preferred to work on his race setting on the same set of Dunlop tyres this morning and he was able to improve his pace by another 0.6s to end with a best of 1:53.391 that put him in control of FP1 for the sixth time in the last eight races.
- Sam, who was victorious at Moorland Aragon in 2016, needed just four laps of FP2 to be the first rider of the weekend to break the 1:53 barrier and he was able to find over 0.5s compared to this morning’s best time.
- The 30-year-old walked away uninjured from a late crash at turn seven this afternoon and he ended the day inside the top three on the combined standings behind Italian duo Fabio di Giannantonio and Marco Bezzecchi.
“The team have done another great job”
“Today we decided to concentrate on our race pace. Last year there was a bit of a drop-off with the rear grip and we are using the same spec this weekend and obviously it is a little bit cooler, so race pace was something very important to work on. I felt good and what is particularly pleasing is I managed to lap in the 1:52s with almost a full race distance on the tyres. I couldn’t do that last year, so already I’ve taken a positive step. I need to take off a bit more speed going into the corner tomorrow and set-up for the turns a little better, but the team have done a great job and our base set-up worked immediately again at another completely different track to where we’ve been recently. Conditions were quite tricky today with the cold and the wind and the crash in FP2 came because I was a bit wide into turn seven. It is not nice to make a mistake but when you know exactly what happened then it is something I can forget and push hard again tomorrow. The goal will be to get on the front row and be ready to fight on Sunday.”