Arbolino and Lowes to launch podium fight from second row
Tony Arbolino qualified fourth and Sam Lowes sixth in a dramatic Moto2 qualifying session at the Algarve International Circuit.
- The inclement weather at the Algarve International Circuit has made this a complicated weekend for all three grand prix classes. Conditions were so bad during Moto2 FP3, the session was red flagged at the midway point due to heavy wind and rain.
- After a fully wet day of running on Friday, Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino experienced dry track conditions for the first time in qualifying, and had just those sessions to get fully up to speed.
/// SAM LOWES, 6th – 1’44.827
- After electing to sit out the first half of FP3, Sam spent the second half adapting to his revised wet weather settings. The results were positive, as he set the third fastest time on his ninth and final lap.
- The Briton’s first laps with slick tyres were in Q2, and he gradually increased his speed. Again, Sam’s best time came on his final lap and at one point he was third, but was then shuffled back to sixth, 0.676s off the pole time.
“I’m enjoying myself and we’ll be competitive”
“I’ve felt quite good all weekend. I didn’t do a good lap in Q2 – it should have been a little bit stronger, but in the end, I wouldn’t have been on pole, or even the front row anyway. So, I’m happy to get on the second row. I feel a bit more confident this weekend and I’m enjoying riding. For sure it’s difficult to understand too much from today. But the goal was to be on the front two rows. We did that so now the aim is to have a good warm-up and a good start. Hopefully it will be a dry race. We have a new rear slick here this weekend. A couple of guys look quite strong, and did the test here in February, where they got good information. It will be an interesting race, but I’m enjoying myself and we’ll be competitive. I know how to be fast on this track so I’m looking forward to it.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 4th – 1’44.560 s.
- The Italian started the afternoon in Q1 after a difficult morning in the rain. But Tony used the 15-minute session to his advantage, finishing second to qualify for Q2 and gaining valuable experience on the 4.6km track with slick tyres.
- The 21-year old started Q2 brilliantly and was regularly in the running for pole position. He eventually finished an excellent fourth. This was the fourth time he has qualified in the top four positions in four of the five races so far.
“I think we’re ready to play for the podium”
“From Q1 it was really difficult. We were lucky because I had the first session, which was dry. It was so important to be there, and I felt so fast and competitive. I passed into Q2. The first laps of Q2 I saw I was more ready than other riders, and also fast. We have some things to check for tomorrow, but I more or less feel good. The second row is amazing. Portugal is a really tough circuit for me so I’m happy about that. We have a long race ahead tomorrow. It will be tough from half-distance until the end, because we haven’t done a lot of dry running. We are lucky we’re starting from the front. We need to use this advantage and make a gap in the first laps. After that we’ll try to manage it and try to finish in the best position possible. I think we’re ready to play for the podium.”