Arbolino and Salac commence countdown to Qatar in Portimao test

Arbolino and Salac commence countdown to Qatar in Portimao test

Two weeks before this year’s Moto2 World Championship gets underway in Qatar’s unique night race, Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Tony Arbolino and Filip Salac took to the track for the first time in 2024 for a two-day test at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal

Eager to get in more crucial testing kilometres on their Triumph-powered Kalex machinery and to build more experience with the new Pirelli tyres that will be raced this season, Arbolino and Salac were unfortunately unable to complete a planned busy schedule because of inclement weather.

  • Both got to assess Pirelli’s rain rubber for the first time in changing conditions on day one while also completing some runs on slick tyres on a drying track, but persistent rain on day two meant both opted not to leave the garage.
  • Arbolino and Salac now make the short hop across the border into Spain hoping for more favourable conditions in a three-day test at the Circuito de Jerez Angel Nieto later this week.


/// TONY ARBOLINO: 3rd, 1:43.042, 68 laps

  • Last year’s Moto2 runner-up took advantage of the wet surface on the opening day to complete his first laps using Pirelli’s rain tyres and he was immediately impressed with the feedback and grip on offer.
  • Arbolino took profit of the limited window available to lap on slick tyres to get himself back up to speed after the long winter break while also experimenting with revised body position settings and working with the balance of the bike.
  • The Italian completed more laps on track than any other rider and his hard work and effort was rewarded with a top three lap time behind Manuel Gonzalez and Aron Canet.

“I quickly found a fast rhythm in all conditions”

“It was great to be back after a long winter break and I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I felt at ease again on the bike and how quickly I found a fast rhythm in all conditions. This pre-season is just about finding the best base before we start racing. A lot has changed from a technical point of view, so we need to be as prepared as we can be. It was a shame about the weather, but I was able to try the Pirelli rain tyres for the first time with the Moto2 bike and I have to say they were very good. You get a lot of feedback and I felt comfortable, and it was important to get some information on the rain tyres so it’s not a complete unknown when we get wet conditions during the season. We got straight back into a good flow with the team and that was positive, so now I’m looking forward to the Jerez test to understand more where we can improve going into the first race.”


/// FILIP SALAC: 7th, 1:43.950, 48 laps

  • The start of pre-season testing was certainly a tough experience for Salac, who suffered a big high-side crash in tricky conditions at the beginning of his very first run.
  • The Czech rider was fortunately uninjured and thanks to the rapid repair work carried out by his Elf Marc VDS Racing crew he was still able to complete 48 laps.
  • Salac recovered brilliantly from the early setback and his personal best time of 1:43.950 placed him in a strong seventh position on the leaderboard. 

“We ended in a positive way after a tough start” 

“It felt great to be back on the Moto2 race bike for the first time this year but unfortunately it wasn’t the easiest start to 2024 because I crashed on the out lap of the first run. I am very sorry to the team for that. It was quite a big high-side, but luckily I’m fine and I have to say a huge thanks to my crew because they did an amazing job to fix the bike quickly and I was still able to do a decent number of laps. It wasn’t easy mentally trying to forget what happened. It was at the back of mind not wanting to make another mistake, but I also had to be pushing hard to get some quality information for the team and myself. Once the track was dry, I was able to start enjoying riding and I felt good on the slicks and able to improve in every lap. That was good for my confidence, and it was good to end in a positive way.”