Strong second row in Qatar qualifying for Lowes
Sam Lowes built on a solid opening to the Qatar Grand Prix by qualifying 5th at the Lusail International Circuit on Saturday, while team-mate Tony Arbolino was 11th.
- The renovated and resurfaced Lusail International Circuit was the scene of the penultimate Moto2 qualifying session of the year for Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino.
- Saturday was another day of contrasting conditions, with the afternoon P3 session taking place in track temperatures of 37 degrees while it had dropped to 27 for the evening qualifying session, held under the floodlights.
///SAM LOWES, 5th – 1’57.741
- After a solid first day of action, Sam opted against pushing for a fast lap time in P3, as conditions would have little relevance to qualifying for Sunday’s race. He was 18th in the session, but 6th overall.
- The pace was red hot in qualifying and while Sam lapped the track 0.395 under the previous Moto2 lap record before this weekend, he still found himself in 5th. Just 0.436s off pole position, the Briton is confident of a podium push on Sunday.
“I wanted more but it was a solid session”
“I’m happy with that. Obviously, I wanted more. But it was a solid session. We’re P5 and we have a good starting position for tomorrow. We’ll get a good start and then let’s see what happens. Our pace is acceptable, I would say. We’re in the mix. We’re still missing something in Sector 2. I didn’t manage to make an improvement there today but we can look at that tonight and see what I can understand. But the plan is to get in the slipstream in the race and see what we can do. I feel my pace is strong and I can go with the lead group. I’m looking forward to it! It’s a pleasure to ride here at night and I think we can sleep well before a nice race tomorrow when we’ll hopefully be fighting for the podium!”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 11th ´- 1’58.109
- Tony enjoyed a strong start to the day, placing 11th in P3 and 14th in the combined practice standings, with a time that was nearly half a second quicker than his Friday best.
- But the Italian didn’t have the optimum feeling with his package in a few of the Lusail International Circuit’s 16 turns in Q2. Although he again improved by half a second in time from P3, he could qualify no higher than 11th.
“We’ll start aggressively and see what we can do”
“It wasn’t the easiest day here in Qatar. We gave our maximum but weren’t able to be consistently fast in certain corners on track. And that’s what’s keeping us from the front guys at the moment. There are a few turns on track where we’ve been losing time all weekend. So, let’s try and be focussed on that tomorrow and be better in those corners for the race. We go into Sunday with a positive mindset because the race is always another story! We’ll start aggressively and see what we can do!”