The pace in the Moto2 class continued to increase today as the intensity rose ahead of the opening race of the season tomorrow night. Even with less riders on track this year the first qualifying session of the season saw problems of a familiar kind, with heavy traffic especially towards the end of the session making life difficult, but an entertaining session saw a host of riders on a variety of machinery staking a claim for pole position. Marc Marquez and Stefan Bradl are the two favourites for victory although Simón, Luthi and Takahasi will no doubt have something to say.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Julián Simón kept his composure this evening despite problems with a new gearbox setting early in the session. A return to yesterday’s setting for the final fifteen minutes gave him the confidence to set a string of fast laps and seal the sixth fastest time of the day, adding his name to the list of podium candidates tomorrow. On the other side of the box Xavi Forés was able to sample the high pressure atmosphere of a Moto2 qualifying session for the first time. The Spaniard made a strong start but a fruitless experiment with the rear end setting of his bike cost him valuable time and he must now focus on recovering ground tomorrow after qualifying 21st.
6th Julián Simón 2.01.430 (16 laps): “We have improved quite a lot compared to yesterday – the only sticking point was the fact we used a different gear ratio to yesterday and it didn’t work out. It cost us time but it was something we needed to try to put our mind at rest and after switching back at the end of the session we started to make progress again. Anyway, I think the second row is a decent result because we are close to the front and with a good start we can be up there. We made some finishing touches to the set-up in the warm-up and I improved my feeling. It is the first race of the year tomorrow and it looks like there are at least two riders with a clear plan – mine is to fight for the podium.”
21st Xavi Forés 2.02.397 (16 laps): “I am a little disappointed because we were working well but we tried something that didn’t work. We dropped the rear to try for more grip but it affected the front and it was folding on me in the fast corners. It was a shame because we’d done a good job up to then and I would have liked to have qualified in the top ten or fifteen. The important day is tomorrow and I think with a good start we can make up positions. That is what I’ll be fighting for anyway. Points in the first race would be a positive start.”
Source: Mapfre Aspar Team
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