Reale Avintia Racing riders Hector Barbera and Loris Baz kept working in the second night of free practice at the floodlit Losail International Circuit. The forecasted rain came just before the action started, and although it was dry for FP2, the circuit surface got really slippery compared to yesterday night. With this conditions the teams had to work on the set-up because yesterday settings were not useful any more.
Baz and Barbera were not able to improve their pace from the first night at Qatar, and both lost some places in the combined timesheets. Loris Baz dropped down from sixth to 14th place with a best lap of 1’56.501 in FP2. While Barbera, who still struggling with his collarbone, also was not able to make a better lap, and his best tonight was 1’56.934.
Both riders expect to improve their feeling during the last free practice session tomorrow night, and then push harder in Q1 to get the best possible position on the grid for the first race of the season. But for sure it will be a tough qualifying session.
“Here the track condition always changes from one day to the next. The rain came this afternoon and we also have strong wind that left a lot of sand in the circuit. We had to change the setting of the bike and also I had to work in my riding style to suit the new conditions, but we didn’t do it so good as some other riders. But in the end has not so bad, my lap times with race tyres are pretty good. In addition I’m not able to use the soft front as in the test, and this complicated things a little more, because we have to adapt the bike to the hard tyre. At the end of FP3 I tried to push harder triying to improve the lap time I did yesterday, but the bike shaked with violence and the airbag system of my leathers activated, so I was not able to complete the lap.”
“It was a difficult day, as things are going worse than expected. Maybe we are behind the others because we didn´t test as much. I simply don´t feel comfortable on the bike and I have to fight it in every corner. As a result, we are more than two seconds off the pace. We have to keep working, because this is not a good result. My collarbone keeps bothering me, maybe I am too careful because of this injury. But our real limit is not the collarbone, it´s our lack of track time on this circuit. Tomorrow we will try to improve the bike in FP4 in order to get the best possible lap time in qualifying. It´s tough when things are not going your way, but we will grit our teeth and keep working hard.”