Brilliant front row return for Lowes at Mugello
Sam Lowes qualified an excellent third for the Italian Grand Prix in testing conditions, while Tony Arbolino will start his home race from eighth.
- Qualifying was complicated for Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino on Saturday afternoon at Mugello as brief showers and a drop in temperature were different from what they experienced in all three free practice sessions.
- Thankfully, the rain mostly held off throughout qualifying and riders had dry conditions during both Q1 and Q2, despite drops of rain falling around the track.
/// SAM LOWES, 3rd , 1’51.279
- Focussing on maintaining speed on used tyres for Sunday’s race, Sam did two impressive runs in FP3, with nine laps in the 1’51s or 1’52s – a strong rhythm, as he finished fourth in the session.
- Despite spots of rain falling on his visor, the 31-year old put together a super seven-lap run in Q2, with his best time good enough for third, just 0.158s from pole position.
“I feel we can do a good race tomorrow”
“Honestly, it wasn’t too bad in Q2. There were a few spots of rain but the grip was high because the track temperature was lower. Overall, I was feeling good on the bike. It’s important to start on the front row. I’ve worked hard on the pace and for the second half of the race this weekend so I feel we can do a good race tomorrow. There will be a few guys that can keep the pace in the early laps. But after that there are three or four guys that can be there at the end. You need to be clever in the middle, save a bit of tyre and save a bit of energy to be ready to fight with two or three guys at the end. A 21-lap race at Mugello is always long but we’re looking forward to it!”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 8th , 1’51.566
- The Italian had a difficult start to the day, as he crashed at turn one in the closing stages of FP3, meaning he ended the session 15th. But Tony responded excellently in the Q1 session, finishing second to progress to Q2.
- Reacting well to changes made to his bike set-up from Friday, the 21-year had the confidence to set the eighth fastest time in Q2, just 0.4s off the pole position.
“We need to keep believing”
“It was a big improvement today. I’m happy we passed from Q1 to Q2. I was pushing a lot and we tried some things on the bike. Honestly, I’m really happy about that. We improved the feeling compared to Friday. The race is tomorrow so we need to keep believing so we do a good job. We are working a lot. I want to thank the crew, who are pushing a lot, even in the tough moments. I can’t wait for my home race tomorrow!”