Reale Avintia Racing riders Hector Barbera and Loris Baz will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Italy from the fifth and sixth row of the grid after qualifying 14th and 17th today.
Hector Barbera is getting his feeling back and he already showed yesterday that he can be in the top ten, ending the day in eighth place. Today he improved his pace from Friday by almost 0.5s, but this was not enough to get in Q2 and tomorrow he will start the race in the middle of the fifth row alongside Cal Crutchlow and Jonas Folger. He expects to get a good start tomorrow and to fight for his first top ten finish of the season in the race.
Loris Baz also improved in comparison to the first day and he will start tomorrow’s race from the sixth row of the grid, just behind his Reale Avintia Racing teammate. The French rider worked really hard with his team to get the best of the new Michelin front tyres and he did a big step forward this afternoon, improving both his pace and his feeling.
“We did a big step forward and we were really close to get in Q2. It was a tight session and we finished just two tenths behind Zarco, but I will start the race tomorrow from the best position so far this season. So it is obvious that we have improved. We have a good rhythm for the race and I feel better than ever this year, so I will give my best. The goal is to enjoy riding the bike and if I manage to do it, I’m sure that we can be fighting in the top ten. I think that there is a group from sixth to twelfth with a similar pace, so my target tomorrow is to be battling there.”
“Today we kept working on the set-up and the bike has improved a lot. At the end of the FP4 we had something to test, but the bike stopped and in the end we had to try it in Q1. I’m happy because the pace is much better than yesterday. The chatter has not disappeared completely, but the bike is rideable. Tomorrow will be a long race. Mugello is a very physical circuit and this bike is also more demanding for the rider, so we have to manage the race well and be smart. If we get to the end, we will surely get some important points.”