Arbolino inside top three in mixed Malaysia opening

Arbolino inside top three in mixed Malaysia opening

Tony Arbolino carried his fine form from recent races through to Malaysia as the Italian ended a rain-affected day at the Sepang International Circuit with the third fastest time while the team has withdrawn Sam Lowes from the rest of the GP.

  • The first Malaysian Grand Prix since 2019 got underway in grueling conditions, with Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino riding in temperatures of 27 degrees and humidity of 89%.
  • The opening 15 minutes of FP2 took place in dry before an almighty rain storm brought out the red flags, causing a delay of one hour before the rain subsided. The final 22 minutes of FP2 took place in fully wet conditions.
  • Despite the rider’s best efforts, the team has decided to withdraw Sam Lowes from the rest of the weekend after the Englishman suffered a fall in FP2.

/// SAM LOWES, 20th – 2’09.235

  • Sam worked on his feeling and comfort aboard the bike in FP1 and gradually got up to speed, setting the 20th fastest time and finishing the session 2.4s off the quickest time.
  • But as the rain started falling heavily in FP2, Sam had a slow speed get off. The team decided he does not currently have the strength in his injured left shoulder. The decision was therefore taken to withdraw him from the rest of the weekend to benefit the Englishman’s physical well-being and recovery.

“I feel very sad and disappointed to have to get off the bike”

“Honestly, there’s not much to say. I feel very sad and disappointed to have to get off the bike because I’ve worked so hard every day to be able to recover and get back to where I was before the injury. I’m giving everything to do that but my physical condition is still not optimal. It’s against my wish, which is always to give my everything out on track, that the team has decided it’s best that I withdraw from the Malaysian Grand Prix for my physical well-being and long-term recovery.”


/// TONY ARBOLINO, 3rd , 2’07.867

  • The 22-year old was immediately back in the mix on his first visit to the Sepang International Circuit in three years, placing third in FP1 before posting an impressive run of competitive times at the end of the wet FP2.
  • Tony hopes to make some small tweaks to set-up ahead of FP3 so he can receive some more feedback from his bike, so he can push to his limits.

“I just need a bit more feeling”

“Friday has been a tough day for me because the conditions were changing a lot. I feel quite good and I’m confident because I found a nice feeling with the bike in all conditions. We also tried both tyres for tomorrow, so I know the feeling of both of them – this was important as well. I think we can make a step tomorrow morning in FP3 to be ready for the race. I just need a bit more feeling. We don’t have a problem with the bike, it’s just I need more feeling, more feedback everywhere on track. Even still, I’m confident that we’ll find it as we always do. We’re showing a really good level, so the target is the same as always. The result needs to arrive 100%.”