A CRASH IN THE DECISIVE LAP PUTS THE BRAKES ON ALEIX ESPARGARÓ'S AMBITIONS
SAM LOWES IMPROVES, JUST MISSING Q2 IN FREE PRACTICE, EARNING A SPOT ON THE SEVENTH ROW
Aleix Espargaró went into the Q1 session which decides the order of the starting grid for the French GP, fortified by a nice result in the free practice session. In fact, in FP4, the session just ahead of the qualifiers, the Spaniard had finished with a nice ninth place just a few tenths from the leader and right behind his direct rivals. Shortly thereafter, he would have made a play to go through to Q2, which decides the first four rows of the grid.
Instead, a crash (harmless for the rider) put him out of the games in the decisive lap that he was on after mounting the new tyre in the hopes of improving his placement. So Aleix had to settle for the eighth best time (1’33.187) he had already made, which places him on the sixth row with the 18th best overall time. There is plenty of regret for this lost chance. In a hypothetical Q2, a good qualifying time would have permitted Aleix to start as far forward as the third row.
Sam Lowes demonstrated clear progress in the last two free practice sessions, particularly in FP3 where he missed the tenth place time by just 34 thousandths, a placement that would have passed him directly through to Q2. In qualifying, a crash slowed him down a few laps from the end, but he was still able to improve, finishing 21st with a time of 1’33.817 which places him on the seventh row.