The moment of truth is getting closer, the countdown’s in full swing and the riders are getting down to serious business. So much so that Sam Lowes broke the lap record and set a 1:58.824 on day two; the Brit and the Triumph taking over from the previous best of 1:59.052 – Folger’s 2016 Honda-powered pole position time.
Good temperatures, good track conditions and no wind allowed Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders to follow the plan to perfection on day two. Alex Márquez and his team continued working on mentality and strategy for the Grand Prix. Throughout the day they worked on set up with some small chassis and electronic adjustments, and the number 73 mainly worked on long runs on used tyres with a full tank – one of which was 15 laps, equivalent to three quarters of the race. The goal was to get a good feeling for the race as soon as possible. Marquez concentrated on improving him rhythm, able to get into the top three, and ended the day with a lap count of 53 and the fourth fastest time overall – 0.295 from Sam Lowes’ lap in first. Working on a fast lap and race simulation are the key objectives on the final day.
Xavi Vierge continued improving the balance of his bike, concentrating on rear grip and the suspension. Getting the setup sorted for the Grand Prix is the priority for the number 97, who worked on new and used rubber. Vierge showed consistent progress throughout the day and ended it with a good feeling, good lap times and with a competitive rhythm. His fastest lap came in the third session in which he took an important step forward – improving on his best time from the morning by almost a second. 46 laps completed and a best of 1:56.168, fifth overall, is the stat sheet for the Spaniard after day two.
“I’m happy. We’ve worked really well all day. We’ve continued in the good direction we chose yesterday and we’ll carry on down that route. We will have to focus a lot on riding with a full tank and new tyre, because that’s where I have the biggest margin to improve. Tomorrow will be the most important day. We have a race simulation on the agenda and we’ll finish off by preparing for the weekend by gaining confidence and working on the lines. I’m focused and confident we’ll find those little details we’re missing to be able to get to the Grand Prix fully prepared.”
“The good track conditions and the lack of wind allowed us to work on a faster rhythm for the race. I felt good from the morning on but I was still missing a bit of rear grip. We’ve worked very hard and in the last session, with lower temperatures and a slower track, we made a big step forward to lower my pace by almost six tenths. Now we’ve got a new base to continue working with and progressing with tomorrow. I’m very happy.”
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