Sam Lowes stars in Jerez qualifying to claim superb front row, Augusto Fernandez aims for points finish
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Sam Lowes will start the first ever Andalucia GP from the front row of the grid after another outstanding qualifying performance, with Augusto Fernandez ready to fight for the top 15.
Lowes showed red-hot pace in sizzling hot conditions to feature inside the top two in both this morning’s third and final Free Practice session and this afternoon’s crucial Q2 at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto.
With Lowes showing the speed throughout the weekend to pose a serious podium challenge, Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS is also confident Fernandez can charge through the pack to score more valuable World Championship points.
A super tight FP3 session in which 26 riders were covered by just one second ended with Fernandez finishing just 0.5s away from the top 10.
The Spaniard devoted the majority of his time in FP3 to finding more grip and rear tyre durability in extremely hot conditions.
Fernandez showed his fighting spirit in Q1 and a lap of 1:42.333 meant he missed out on a place in Q2 by the narrow margin of just 0.1s.
The number 37 is confident his pace in race trim is more competitive than last weekend’s Spanish GP and his target is to finish higher than his battling 13th position six days ago.
“It has been another difficult day unfortunately. It was very hot at the start of Q1 and I missed the chance to put together my best lap on the first run which is what you need to do. I was close to being inside the top four to go into Q2 and it’s a pity we didn’t make it because now we are starting quite far back again. I feel confident that I have better pace than last Sunday’s race and I hope to recover a lot of places and finish higher than I did last weekend.”
Lowes continued to shine in southern Spain this morning and hot lap of 1:41.188 in FP3 left him just 0.013s behind Jorge Martin to secure a brilliant second position.
Lowes executed his strategy to perfection by setting an early lap in cooler conditions to book his spot in Q2 before using the rest of FP3 to focus on improving front-end stability in the fast corners of the 4.4km Jerez track.
The number 22 instantly challenged for a front row as track temperature reached a weekend high of 57 degrees and a lap 1:41.765 was only 0.037s away from securing him a first pole position since the Aragon round in 2016.
Throughout the entire weekend, Lowes has been one of the fastest in terms of race pace. He starts tomorrow’s 23-lap encounter fully motivated to repeat the strong podium challenge he mounted last weekend in Jerez.
“Q2 was a really good session for me and I’m so happy to be back on the front row. It was very hot this afternoon and the grip was the lowest we’ve had all weekend, so I’m happy to stay focused, ride smooth and still put a fast lap time in that wasn’t far away from pole position. I’m going to give all I can tomorrow to fight my first podium with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS. We’ve done a good job this weekend and I want to thank my team for all their hard work and effort.”