Vierge and Márquez set sights on podium challenge in Assen
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS has its sights set firmly on a double podium challenge in tomorrow’s historic Dutch TT after Xavi Vierge and Alex Marquez starred in an enthralling second qualifying session.
- Europe’s current heatwave hit the iconic Assen track today, with sweltering temperatures peaking at a physically demanding 31 degrees for this afternoon’s qualifying action.
- The battle to secure automatic passage into Q2 was a typically frantic affair in FP3, but it was goal achieved for Vierge and Marquez, who finished 13th and ninth respectively this morning in a session headed by Remy Gardner.
- The Spanish duo set their fastest times of the weekend in Q2, with Vierge clinching a front row for the first time since his pole position and Argentina by the slender margin of 0.055s from Márquez, who starts from fourth position.
- Scorching hot conditions are expected again for tomorrow’s 24-lap race, which is scheduled to get underway at 1220pm local time.
Alex Márquez: 4th, 1:36.771, 29 laps, 132 km
- A lap of 1:37.454 in baking hot temperatures that came close to hitting 30 degrees this morning saw Márquez move comfortably into Q2.
- A fifth front row start of the season looked on the cards when the 2014 Assen Moto3 winner posted a time of 1:36.771, but he had to settle for fourth after Gardner seized pole from Brad Binder and Vierge.
- A victory for Márquez in tomorrow’s 24-lap race will see him become only the second rider in the Moto2 era to win four races in a row following fellow Spaniard Toni Elias back in 2010.
“I am looking forward to having a good fight with Xavi tomorrow”
“I’m happy because after FP3 I was expecting Q2 to be difficult. For some reason, I am struggling more than normal to put in one fast lap but I still did a good job and the gap to the front row is very close. The objective was to be inside the top six and we managed that, but for tomorrow it is difficult to understand and analyse where we are in terms of race pace compared to everybody else. I think we can fight for the podium but it will be important not to make any mistakes in what looks like being demanding conditions. I want to congratulate Xavi though too because he did a very good job and tomorrow I am looking forward to having a good fight with him.”
Xavi Vierge: 3rd, 1:36.716, 29 laps, 132 km
- After narrowly missing the top 14 at the end of practice yesterday, Vierge made sure of his place in Q2 with a fantastic lap 1:37.542, which was 0.5s faster than his quickest speed on Friday.
- Riding with confidence high heading into the vital Q2, the number 97 improved his lap time by the big margin of 0.8s compared to practice, which ended with him firing in a superb pace of 1:36.716 on his third of nine laps completed.
- That eye-catching speed gave Vierge his third front start of the 2019 campaign and he goes into the race tomorrow confident he can deliver his first podium finish in the famous Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS livery.
“We are ready to fight at the front again tomorrow”
“Finally, I am back on the front row and this is a great reward for all the hard work the team and I have been putting in since Jerez when we were struggling. We made a good step forward during the race weekend in Barcelona and at the test afterwards. We found a base set-up that is relatively standard but it allows me as a rider to make a difference with changes to my style. The objective this weekend was not to make so many changes to the bike and we did this thanks to an incredible job by my team. Every adjustment we made this weekend has improved the bike and I pushed so hard to make the front row. I am enjoying riding the bike again and I’m looking forward to the race. It will be a hard race in the heat but I think we have shown good pace and we are ready to fight at the front again tomorrow.”