Arbolino aiming for victory challenge from middle of front row
Tony Arbolino missed out on pole position by just 0.085s at the Chang International Circuit on Saturday while Sam Lowes made further progress by qualifying 19th.
- For the second day in succession, the pessimistic forecasts did not come to pass as cloudy skies and a dry track greeted riders for qualifying day at the Thai GP.
- From Saturday morning, conditions were some of the most challenging of the year for Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino with ambient temperatures of 29 degrees and a stifling 73% humidity!
/// SAM LOWES, 19th – 1’36.360
- The Englishman is pleased overall with his physical condition. Sam said he felt no great pain throughout Saturday’s running, and was able to do longer runs and only felt a little fatigued afterward.
- The 32-year old gradually built up his speed throughout the day as well, and improved his best time of 1’36.827 in FP3 by almost half a second in Q1, when Sam qualified 19th.
“I can see light at the end of the tunnel”
“Today was alright. The arm is OK and I’m quite happy with the pain. It’s painful but not terrible. It’s just I feel a bit weak. But I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I did quite a few laps in a row and I’m happy to be riding a bit better, although I’m not expecting too much in the race tomorrow. It will be the first time I’ve started a full race since June. It will be difficult and I’ll have to see how the arm and shoulder is over the race distance. But I’m looking forward to it. We’ve done a good job this weekend. I’ve enjoyed riding the bike so hopefully we can have a nice race. We’ll go into it without expectations and I’m sure I can make another step in Australia.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 2nd – 1’35.710
- Throughout free practice, Tony and his crew have worked to help his feeling on the bike with more than twelve laps on his tyres. Thanks to some changes to the balance of the bike, the Italian is confident his bike is more manageable on corner exit and has better traction.
- Tony’s speed has been evident all weekend. The 22-year old set the third fastest time in FP3 before posting his quickest lap of the grand prix in Q2. This was his first front row start since the Spanish GP in May.
“I had to get this front row”
“It’s an amazing feeling! I felt so good out there today and I’m really happy to be back on the first row. After coming so close in Japan, I had to get this front row! So I was really motivated and focussed today. Like always, the crew have been working amazingly well and so hard. Tomorrow is the race. We tried to change the balance of the bike to improve the feeling after ten or twelve laps. It looks like we’re getting there and we found it. Let’s hope we can have a good race tomorrow and I’m confident we can do it!”