Elf Marc VDS’s Sam Lowes remains confident he can challenge for the SpanishGP Moto2 podium after qualifying in fifth place at Jerez this afternoon.
An exciting Q2 session was made more intense than normal after Dunlop unveiled a special new soft compound rear tyre for use in time attacks throughout the Andalucian weekend.
Remaining impressively fast and consistent on the harder option rear tyre, which will be used in Sunday’s race, Lowes gathered vital data in race trim during a record-breaking FP3 session. His blistering lap of 1’41.078 was the first to break the circuit’s all-time record with the time eventually placing him sixth overall heading into the afternoon’s 15-minute shootout.
The 30-year-old was well on course to record a sensational fourth consecutive pole in 2021 with his penultimate lap of the Q2 session and was over two-tenths up on Remy Gardner’s best pace going into the final sector. A small mistake in the last corner, however, curtailed his impressive momentum but it didn’t prevent the Brit from logging his best time of the weekend before a slow speed crash at turn two at the start of his final flying lap ended his stunning challenge.
His previous 1’40.833 effort was still strong enough for fifth on the grid, with Lowes lining up alongside Raul Fernandez and Xavi Vierge in the middle of row two for Sunday’s 23-lap battle.
“It was a shame with the mistake in the final corner” Lowes said from Jerez this afternoon, “because it looked like I was going to be on pole position again and it would have been great to keep that unbeaten Q2 record going.
“It wasn’t meant to be but you can see with the new Dunlop soft rear tyre that everybody is pushing so hard. It made it a different style of qualifying but I’m happy, particularly with my pace from FP3 where we were very fast and consistent on the hard tyre, which is the race choice.
“Friday morning I didn't feel fantastic, I was quite fast but didn't feel fantastic, but in the afternoon we made some changes, and I felt really good. We tried the different tyre, just for a couple laps at the end so we didn't get the maximum from it but just to understand a little bit ready for today. With the race tyre we're really fast so it's nice to have that good feeling again, to be at another track and be fast again.
“I’ve got the pace to fight at the front and I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”