Alex Márquez chases home podium in Barcelona from second row, Xavi Vierge lines up 20th
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Alex Márquez will commence his bid for a third successive win in the 2019 Moto2 World Championship from sixth on the grid, with Xavi Vierge looking forward to an intense home battle from row seven in Barcelona.
Hot and physically demanding conditions dominated the Saturday action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Alex Márquez and Xavi Vierge battling for top grid positions ahead of the seventh round of this year’s Moto2 title chase.
Alex Márquez was one of the fastest men on track in FP3 this morning and a best lap of 1:44.282 put him fifth on the timesheets and comfortably inside the top 14 needed to move into Q2.
Scorching conditions greeted the 18 riders starting Q2, and Márquez once again set a hot pace to put up a terrific effort to secure his first pole position of 2019.
A lap of 1:44.270 was less than 0.1s from securing the 23-year-old a fifth consecutive front row.
Márquez believes his strong race pace gives him a great opportunity to become the first Spanish rider to win three intermediate class World Championship races in a row since Tito Rabat managed it for Marc VDS back in 2014.
“My target is always to be on the first two rows and I just managed to do that in sixth position. I’m happy because the times are so close and I was only one-tenth-of-a-second away from pole position. I made some mistakes in Q2 and without those I think I had a good opportunity to be in pole position. It was difficult to manage the grip of the rear tyre in the hot conditions but it is always like this at this track. I have a good rhythm for the race but I need to improve in the second sector because that is where I am losing the most time. We’ll try and find a solution in the Warm-Up but in general I am happy with the work we have done all weekend. The race will be difficult because it looks like it is going to be very hot. I think the two from Speed Up are the favourites because it looks their pace is a little faster but my goal is to finish on the podium in front of the incredible home fans.”
Putting in maximum effort to gain more confidence with his Kalex chassis, Xavi Vierge just missed the Q2 cut off in FP3 this morning with a 1:44.900 only 0.2s away from a place in the vital top 14.
Despite a late FP3 crash at Turn 5, Vierge was confident and fully focused on securing a top four placing to claim a Q2 spot.
His efforts were so nearly rewarded when a lap of 1:44.917 came within 0.068s of making it into the second 15-minute qualifying session.
Vierge was sixth in Q1 and will start his home round from 20th, but he remains strong-minded to fight for the top 10 tomorrow.
“Today has been very hard. We’ve changed a lot of things on the bike and I have changed my riding style but I haven’t found a good way to be stronger and more competitive. I’m sorry to the team because they are all making the maximum effort to improve like I am but I’m struggling a lot. We will try and understand how to find a solution to help make a step forward for the race. The good thing is Alex is very strong and I can see his data to check where he is making the difference and analyse how it can help me.”