Elf Marc VDS duo start 2023 on the front foot
Both Tony Arbolino and Sam Lowes started the 2023 season in fine style by placing fourth and fifth at the end of Friday at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal.
- After an offseason that lasted more than four months, the 2023 season kicked off in the Algarve on Friday, with Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino enjoying two Practice sessions to fine-tune their bikes for Saturday’s qualifying.
- The season’s first Moto2 session was interrupted by a light rain shower, which limited running after 25 minutes. Practice 2 was dry, however, with ambient temperatures of 23 degrees.
/// SAM LOWES, 5th – 1’42.762
- Coming off the back of two solid preseason tests at Jerez and Portimao, the Briton was immediately in the mix, posting competitive times in both sessions to place 6th in P1 and 5th in P2.
- While the Englishman was extremely consistent throughout the day, he wasn’t fully content with his set-up. Sam is eager to find a setting that reduces rear wheel spin on corner exit for tomorrow.
“My pace on used rubber is really competitive”
“Today I didn’t feel as good as the test but my lap times were still very consistent, especially with the way I’m riding. We picked up where we left off. We know we need to improve in some areas. In others we did well. Sector 1 was my bad point during the test and I need to improve there, but I’m better than the test, a bit more consistent. Today I felt a bit worse with the rear. It was difficult to get it to dig in and make metres on the exit. We had too much spin and the bike was quite lively. But we did make a small change from the test. The temperature will be slightly higher tomorrow than today so we’ll just go back to our setting from before and change the balance. It’s been a positive day. We didn’t do a good lap on new tyres but my pace on used rubber is really competitive. I’m reasonably happy, especially with the margin we have. We’ll try to qualify on the front row tomorrow and have a good race from there.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 4th – 1’42.760
- The Italian was fast throughout Friday, setting the fourth fastest time in both of the day’s sessions, and ending the day just 0.369s off pace setter Pedro Acosta.
- Tony had a small crash at turn five midway through Practice 2 and is aiming to find some improvements in Sectors 2 and 3 of the circuit by making adjustments to his riding style.
“That’s a good start for us”
“We’ve been working a lot to be competitive and as fast as we can. I had a small crash but that’s because I wasn’t feeling great with the bike. After that I tried to recover my confidence with everything. We’ll keep working in this same direction to keep improving our lap time and pace. We have to find something in Sectors 2 and 3. The most difficult parts of the track are Sectors 1 and 4 but we’re fast there. That means we have to change something with my riding style but we are quite confident we can do that. We’re going in the right direction and inside the top five. That’s a good start for us.”