Unsettled weather welcomes Morbidelli and Luthi to Spielberg
The opening day of practice for the Austrian Grand Prix saw Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Franco Morbidelli finish 17th with teammate Tom Luthi in 23rd position.
The morning FP1 session was conducted in ideal sunny and warm weather before a torrential downpour and a cool change arrived just prior to the start of the afternoon FP2 session. Consequently all of the fast times today were set in FP1.
Morbidelli followed his confidence boosting race ride in Brno last Sunday with a best time of 1’25.107 in a 24 lap FP1 session on the fast 4.3km Spielberg layout. In the rain soaked FP2 Morbidelli was impressive in the tricky conditions to be 13th fastest but still 17th overall based on FP1. Later FIM stewards issued Morbidelli with a three place grid penalty for Sunday’s race because of a riding infringement in FP1.
Luthi was also highly competitive in the wet FP2 session with the 17th fastest time although he remained 23rd overall based on the dry track FP1 times.
Tomorrow’s FP3 session will be at 9:55am and then FP4 at 1:30pm followed by qualifying at 2:10pm.
Franco Morbidelli: 17th – 1’25.107
“In FP1 I was reasonably happy but I still want to improve although I’m quite satisfied with the work we did. Then in FP2 I had fun riding in the rain although we struggled on acceleration so we still need a better wet set-up because I don’t have a lot experience in these conditions. In FP1 apparently I slowed down Aleix Espargaro so the stewards had to give me a three position grid penalty for the race.”
Tom Luthi: 23rd – 1’25.979
“Overall today my position does not reflect my potential. FP1 started with a really good feeling from the test day Brno and I was up in 13th position. With the forecast of rain in the afternoon I went for a time attack with a soft rear tyre on the last exit but I messed it up and finished back in 23rd position. It was a pity because I felt so positive on the bike and then the rain came for FP2 and it was interesting riding MotoGP for the first time in the rain.”