Reale Avintia Racing riders Loris Baz and Hector Barbera qualified in 17th and 20th place for tomorrow’s 20-lap Malaysian Grand Prix, in baking hot conditions at the Sepang International Circuit today.
Loris Baz did his best in Q1 and in his first time attack he managed to improve his best lap time from yesterday by 1.4s. After that he was getting even faster and had realistic options for a place in Q2, but he pushed the front of his Ducati too much and crashed out.
Things went the opposite way for his teammate Hector Barbera. The Spaniard, who was eighth fastest yesterday in dry conditions, was unable to improve his pace in Q1 and tomorrow he will start the race from the penultimate row of the grid. The only positive thing today was his race pace, so he hopes to be able to recover and score some championship points.
“Today was another tough day for us. We knew from yesterday that it was going to be hard, because we struggled in dry and wet conditions and we didn’t manage to make our bike competitive with used tyres. So we need to find a solution before the race. With new tyres, the pace is not so bad, I was able to do one fast lap at the beginning of qualifying. Then I had a great opportunity following Alex (Rins), but I went long in one corner, was deeper on the brakes than usual and crashed. It is a shame because the lap was really fast. But to be honest, the most important thing is the race and we are not ready yet. I pray for a dry race, because the wet conditions yesterday were a disaster for us.”
“Sepang is a circuit where we tested a lot and where we have good references. I’m usually fast here, but today it was really tough. It was the same story of the whole season so far: I’m fast on Friday, but then I hit a wall and it’s impossible to go faster. Today we made a big change on the bike set-up and we improved the chatter issues, but we lost in other areas, so we need to find a balance. Tomorrow the race could be wet, last year I was fourth in wet conditions, but yesterday we also struggled in the rain. We will see what the weather brings tomorrow, but dry or wet I’ll give my best to get a good result.”