The Team ELF Marc VDS and Sam Lowes get off to a flying start
By taking pole position and victory at the Losail circuit, Sam Lowes kicked off his 2021 championship in the best possible way. This year the British rider and the Team ELF Marc VDS clearly have every intention of taking the title.
MotoGP world championship - Qatar Grand Prix
We have known since interseason tests that Qatar wouldn’t be KTM’s preferred circuit. Having not been able to race there last year, the RC16s struggled to catch up with their rivals. “I had the sensation of having too much rear grip, which made the bike understeer,” explained Danilo Petrucci during tests at the beginning of March. KTM Tech 3 Factory’s new recruit unfortunately didn’t get the chance to gain much experience at the Losail circuit. Hit by another rider right at the beginning of the race, the Italian was unable to complete the first lap. Also well down the grid, Iker Lecuona managed to get up into the top fifteen before finishing in 17th place. “I had problems with my right forearm right from the beginning of practice and suffered pretty badly during the race,” admitted the Spaniard at the finish.
After having impressed during winter tests, Sam Lowes confirmed his fine current form by dominating the first Grand Prix of the season held in Qatar. Fastest in practice, the Elf Marc VDS team rider took the chequered flag after having taken the lead on the third lap. “I’m very happy with what we have accomplished this weekend,” he declared. “We found a good base set up this winter and we confirmed it today, despite a small crash during the warm up. The first race of the season is always a bit special. To win it is fantastic.”
Still lacking a little confidence in his bike, Augusto Fernandez struggled in practice. Starting far down the grid, the Spaniard nevertheless managed to finish the race in the points, in fourteenth position, thanks to new settings discovered during warm up. “We need to confirm all that as soon as next weekend,” stated Sam Lowes’ teammate.
Ayumu Sasaki got very close to offering team Tech 3 their first podium of the season. Fighting in the lead group throughout the race, unfortunately the Japanese rider fell on the very last lap. Deniz Öncü also crashed out, but right at the beginning of the race.
“Deniz did exactly what we asked him not to do, try and win the race on the first lap,” commented Hervé Poncharal. “Ayumu was just unlucky. But we need to remain positive. The good news is that our KTMs are competitive.”
|MOTO2||Sam Lowes||1st||1st (25 points)|
|Augusto Fernandez||14th||15th (2 points)|