Mercado enjoyed a very strong final practice session, during which almost all riders were able to exploit the conditions to improve on yesterday’s lap times. The Argentinian was able to lower his reference by more than a second, setting a very fast 1’41.637 that moved him up the timesheets into overall ninth position heading into the Superpole.
During the brief qualifying session that followed, Tati worked hard with his technicians to exploit the qualifying tyre and set a strong lap time. His best, a 1’41.599 recorded in the final seconds of the 15-minute phase, saw the MIE Honda rider conclude in twelfth position, which translated into a fourth row start on the grid for the first of the weekend’s races.
At 2pm local time, the lights went out on race 1, which ran over a distance of twenty laps. From twelfth, Mercado was lying thirteenth through the initial stages. Working hard to get into a rhythm, the Argentinian gained a couple of positions throughout the first part of the race. Moving up through the field in the later stages, Tati ultimately crossed the line a solid eighth. This in fact marks the rider’s strongest race result of the season so far, the team keen to build on this encouraging result in tomorrow’s races.