Elf Marc VDS duo to launch Portuguese attack from third row
Tony Arbolino and Sam Lowes will start the first race of the 2023 Moto2 World Championship from eighth and ninth place respectively after Saturday’s qualifying sessions at the Algarve International Circuit.
- In a change to the schedule for 2023, Moto2 riders had just a 30-minute P3 session on Saturday morning to perfect their race settings before qualifying got underway at 13.45 local time.
- After experiencing intermittent conditions on Friday morning, the weather was perfect for Saturday’s running, with qualifying taking place in heightened track temperatures of 40 degrees, five degrees higher than Friday afternoon.
/// SAM LOWES, 9th: 1’42.942
- After struggling with rear traction in Friday’s sessions, Sam continued to show strong rhythm in P3 on used tyres, setting the ninth fastest time.
- The Briton then put together a strong, consistent nine-lap run in Q2, and generally got quicker as the session progressed. His best time came on the seventh lap to put him ninth. This is Sam’s best qualifying performance since last June’s Dutch TT.
“There’s no reason why we can’t think about a podium”
“Of course, I wanted to be on the front two rows so I’m not really happy with ninth but I didn’t put a great lap together. I know there are a few areas where I need to improve but the pace is good. I enjoyed the session. The higher temperature maybe caught us out and my feeling wasn’t great, I had this floating feeling with the rear. We should’ve been in the top six but I still feel I can do a good job in the race. It’s all in there. I’ve worked well on used tyres all weekend. We’re still missing a bit on new rubber. It’ll be a tight race. A lot of guys have good pace. But there’s no reason why we can’t think about a podium. We’ll have a good sleep tonight and get stuck in tomorrow.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 8th – 1’42.897
- It was a complicated morning for Tony, who struggled to stop the bike in the track’s numerous braking zones during P3. The Italian ended the session 16th, which left him in Q1.
- But the 22-year old dug deep in the afternoon, topping Q1 before setting the 8th fastest time in Q2, 0.574s off pole sitter Filip Salac.
“We need to be careful but at the same time be aggressive to recover some positions”
“P3 was tough because I didn’t feel great on the bike. But we kept believing. I passed through Q1, which was a good point of the day. I want to thank the team because they’ve been working very hard. I want to do a good race tomorrow. I want to be stronger where I need to be. We have a day now to check all the data to see what changes we can make. We don’t have warm-up anymore so the first race will be a bit strange. But it’s the first one in a long season so we need to be careful and think about things, but at the same time be aggressive to recover some positions. I don’t see one rider that is the clear leader and can make the difference so anything is possible!”