Augusto lines up 15th on the #FrenchGP grid
Clear and sunny skies were a welcome respite from the rain and heavy cloud that dominated day one, but conditions were still very cold, particularly in FP3 this morning with temperatures only just getting into double figures.
Augusto Fernandez made an excellent start in the chilly conditions this morning and with air temperature only reaching 13 degrees he was able to complete 19 productive laps while focusing on gaining more corner entry stability with revised engine braking settings.
A lap of 1’38.828 placed the number 37 in third position behind Joe Roberts and Marco Bezzecchi and that outstanding performance raised expectations of a strong showing in the crucial 15-minute qualifying session.
Ambient temperature increased slightly to 16 degrees by the time Q2 got underway and Fernandez was only 0.3s away from the top six when he fired in a lap of 1:37.014 on his seventh lap.
Although disappointed not to qualify higher than 15th, the 23-year-old is still optimistic that he can fight in the lead group tomorrow after he launched a superb fightback last year in Le Mans to claim a podium from 14th place on the grid.
“It was a very disappointing qualifying because we expected a lot more after such a good performance this morning when I was competitive and inside the top three. We improved a lot with my feeling on the bike and going into Q2 I was very confident that I could improve my lap time and be fighting for a good grid position. But something strange happened that prevented me from going faster. I didn’t have the same rear grip and it is frustrating not to go any quicker this afternoon compared to my time this morning. We need to analyse what happened because today we couldn’t show our full potential. Starting from the fifth row of the grid is not the end of the world because last year I started 14th and finished third and hopefully I can be strong again tomorrow.”