Sam Lowes and Augusto Fernandez make progress on rapid return to Jerez
Just five days after Sam Lowes fought for the podium and Augusto Fernandez rallied to a battling 13th in Jerez, the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS duo were back in action today to commence preparations for the inaugural Andalucia GP.
Spain’s sweltering summer heatwave continued at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto today, with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS working diligently to fine-tune and improve race settings after a positive return to action last weekend.
In ambient temperatures that reached a physically taxing 34 degrees, Lowes ended the day sixth and fighting for the top three once again, while Fernandez within touching distance of the top 10.
Eager to make further steps with front-end confidence based on a wealth of data and information collected last weekend, Fernandez was the busiest man on track in FP1 and no other rider completed more laps than the Spaniard.
Fernandez completed a full 23-lap race distance to gain crucial experience with a thumb operated rear brake system, which he is using for the first time this weekend after Lowes successfully raced It last Sunday.
Lap times were incredibly close once again in the opening 40-minute practice session and Fernandez was one of 24 riders split by just over one second.
FP2 was just as closely contested and a final lap charge of 1:42.726 elevated Fernandez to 17th position, which left him only 0.2s away from the top 10.
“Compared to last weekend, today has been much more positive and we made a step forward. I’m gaining more confidence with the bike again and the changes we are making are moving us in the right direction. I’m trying to improve myself as well and be smoother and I think that is the key to maintaining the progress we have been making.”
Boosted by an outstanding fourth place last Sunday, Lowes needed little time to establish a fast and consistent rhythm in FP1 this morning and under cloudless skies a personal best lap of 1:41.750 placed him in sixth position.
The pace was at a high level right from the start and Lowes was able to immediately lap faster than his best time set in FP1 one week ago.
A significant increase in track temperature from 28 degrees to 54 degrees didn’t prevent the Briton from mounting yet another top six charge and a lap of 1:42.247 secured him fifth spot in FP2.
Demonstrating such a strong pace again means Lowes goes into FP3 and qualifying tomorrow full of confidence that he can put his Kalex machine on the front of the grid for the second race in succession.
“It’s been another very positive day today and it was good to pick up where we left off on Sunday. We tried some different ideas with the bike that we didn’t get chance to try in the winter when I missed a lot of testing with my injury. I’m happy with how things went today, and I did a long run in the hottest conditions of the day and my pace was quite constant. We were even trying new things on the last exit today and we’ve got a lot of good data to analyse tonight and see where we can make further steps. But overall I’m really happy and looking forward to another strong showing in qualifying tomorrow.”