Elf Marc VDS Racing kick off preparations in muggy Mugello
Scorching hot conditions dominated the opening day of practice action at Italy’s spectacular Mugello track today, with Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino posting competitive times inside the top 10.
- Ambient temperature soared to a stifling 33 degrees for FP2, making it incredibly complicated for riders to improve their lap time compared to this morning’s opening 40-minute session.
- Lowes and Arbolino both secured vitals places in the top 14 to book provisional Q2 slots, with thunderstorms predicted for parts of Tuscany tomorrow. FP3 is due to get underway at 1055am local time.
/// SAM LOWES: 8th, 1:52.550, 36 laps
- After injury ruled Lowes out of the previous round in France, the Briton wasted no time in getting quickly back up to speed at the fast and undulating 5.2km Mugello track with a 1:52.550 placing him sixth this morning.
- Confident his time was good enough to secure a provisional place in Q2, Lowes preferred to focus on his race pace in this afternoon’s FP2 and he ended the day in eighth position overall.
“I’m really happy with my race pace”
“Today was positive in general but finishing in eighth position shows we have some margin to improve. I felt a lot better in FP2 in terms of my own riding and the only reason the times were quite slow is because the conditions were so hot. In FP1 I found it quite difficult to manage the bike. I felt stiff and had some pain in the neck from the Le Mans crash. But I felt a lot better this afternoon and that’s good news. We need to work on the balance of the bike and I’m struggling a little with front feeling. I changed to the new tyre quite early in the session to get some information on tyre endurance and to understand my rhythm. I’m happy with my pace for the race and I’m sure when I need to push for a fast lap time, I can make another step.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO: 9th, 1:52.653, 28 laps
- A 16-lap run in FP1 this morning enabled the Italian to make a solid start to his crucial home Grand Prix, with a lap of 1:53.029 putting Arbolino in 15th position.
- With track temperatures increasing by 16 degrees for FP2, Arbolino delivered an impressive performance, and he was one of only nine riders in the top 20 to improve his lap time in the extreme heat to finish ninth overall.
“We are improving and reducing the gap to the front”
“It hasn’t been an easy start to my home Grand Prix, and it was quite difficult to find a good feeling with the bike. We’ll certainly be looking to improve the front feeling for tomorrow, although we don’t know what the conditions will be. In FP2, I just concentrated on riding around some of the problems and not letting my mind get too distracted by some of the issues. I improved my riding style, and I also improved my lap time and that makes me very happy. It certainly wasn’t easy to find time in those hot conditions and step-by-step we are reducing the gap to the front. And I’m satisfied with my lap time in those conditions.”