Arbolino immediately in the mix at Motegi
In a largely dry FP1 session, Tony Arbolino carried his strong form from Aragon over to Japan by setting the sixth fastest time, while Sam Lowes recovered his feelings in his first Moto2 appearance since early August.
- Friday saw the three grand prix classes make their first appearance in Japan since 2019 and despite pessimistic weather forecasts, Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino had a largely dry FP1 session, with spits of rain falling at different times.
- Due to concerns over transporting freight from Europe to Japan, all classes were limited to one session on Friday afternoon to work on bike settings. The Moto2 field had just one 40-minute session during the day.
- Despite a fire breaking out in the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team box on Thursday evening, the whole squad worked heroically through the morning to ensure the garage was cleaned and ready for action once FP1 got underway at 14.10 local time.
/// SAM LOWES, 26th – 1’53.122
- Returning from an injury he sustained on the first day of the British GP on 5th August, this was the first time Sam was back on a grand prix machine in seven weeks. He gradually lowered his pace, with his fastest lap coming on the 13th lap of 15.
- Understandably, the Englishman was using Friday to recover his feelings aboard the bike. He tried different rear tyre combinations through the 40 minutes as he set the 26th fastest time.
“I need more laps to regain the confidence”
“It’s really nice to get going again. Obviously, the injury is still causing me some issues but I expected it to be worse. I just need to understand that this weekend is going to be about building myself back up. We just had the one session today, which was not a lot. I need more laps to regain the confidence as it’s been a long time since I’ve ridden the bike. I was riding with a smile because it was really nice to be back out there. I just want to thank the team as they did a great job during the night after everything that happened. I’m looking forward to keep building from here.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 6th 1’51.014
- Tony and his crew began the day with the same base setting he used so effectively at Aragon, and the Italian was immediately competitive, placing around the top five riders from the start.
- Despite spots of rain failing toward the end of the session, Tony’s fastest lap was one of five laps in the 1’51s. The 22-year old is aiming to make a few small set-up tweaks this evening as he feels confident of challenging for the podium again.
“We need to be as ready as possible”
“We showed a really good level again today. I’m happy about that. We started with the same base setting as Aragon and it looks like the bike was working well. We just need to improve a few things with the setting and be as mentally focussed as before. Let’s see tomorrow how the weather will be. But we need to be as ready as possible so we can fight for the podium another time here.”