Xavier Simeon showed his wet weather prowess at Mugello to qualify a career-best fourth for the Italian Grand Prix. The Tech 3 youngster has shown flashes of potential but hasn't delivered on that promise yet, having crashed out of points positions in the last two races.
But the Belgian put in a stunning lap right at the end of the session to qualify on the second row for the first time since Silverstone last year, missing out on the front row by a mere 0.140s.
Simeon admitted he wasn't particularly happy with the Mistral 610 early in the session, but paid tribute to the team for making the necessary improvements to get him into the top four.
“It was really difficult for me and at the beginning the conditions were not clear. It was really not easy to go on this track under these conditions, changing from damp to wet to wetter. I did not know exactly what the grip allows me to go for, but lap by lap my feeling improved and I got faster and faster with each lap. Then I entered the pit to do some modifications to the bike as I did not have a good feeling with the rear tyre and then the conditions changed again. So we decided to change again.”
Mindful of the incidents that have cost so dearly in recent weeks, Simeon is desperate to capitalise on his grid position and get some points on the board in tomorrow's race.
“I was very lucky as I rode my lap time at the very last lap and I am very happy for the team as this is the first time we were 4th and it makes a big difference if you can have a good starting position. I think I can have a good race tomorrow in dry conditions, as I was fast and consistent through the whole session and feel comfortable on the bike. I hope also the race result will be as good tomorrow.”