Elf Marc VDS Racing Team raring to go in 2023
The Elf Marc VDS Racing Team powers into the 2023 Moto2 World Championship with the belief and confidence that Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino can fight to bring more title success to the highly regarded Belgium-based squad.
- This season is the 14th in which the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team has competed in the ultra-competitive Moto2 category and previously the squad has claimed the title in 2014, 2017 and 2019.
- A successful pre-season testing campaign means Lowes and Arbolino start the mammoth 21-round season in Portugal this weekend among the pre-season favourites.
/// SAM LOWES
- With 135 Moto2 appearances in a nine-year spell in the intermediate class, Lowes brings a wealth of experience to bolster the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team’s title aspirations in 2023.
- Fully recovered from a left shoulder injury picked up seventh months ago in Silverstone that sidelined the Briton for much of the second half of last season, Lowes is eager to make up for lost time to showcase his proven race-winning talent once again.
- Lowes will once again be led by hugely experienced crew chief Gilles Bigot, with Adria Perez working on data recording and mechanic roles will be filled by Steven Bradley and Anthony Couturier
How did your pre-season go?
“I spent a lot of time in the UK with my trainer, as last year I finished the season early due to my shoulder injury. It took a few weeks to understand how bad the shoulder was, and I was still struggling in December. I worked a lot to get the strength and flexibility back. In the new year I went to Spain to do some riding and started to feel back to normal again. It’s been a big winter from the physical side but really positive and I am very happy to be feeling a lot better.”
How would you rate your physical and mental condition to start the season?
“Physically I feel great. It’s probably been my biggest physical preparation in the last five years because there was the rehabilitation and the process of regaining fitness that was long and constant since December. This is a big positive. Mentally I feel refreshed. It’s really hard to sit at home and see people racing when you should be there. Last year’s races were difficult, but I realised how much I want to be here, how much I missed it and how much I have worked to be back at it.”
What are those positives?
“When you’re in a race weekend with all the pressure and all the stress, sometimes you need to take a step back. And when I wasn’t at the track or I came to the races and saw everybody on track, I realised you need to focus on what you’re doing and your plan over the weekend and not worry about everything else. That was important for me to see that. Don’t stress too much about external things and focus on myself. I got refreshed and understood that if I do the job I can do, I will be in a good place.”
What kind of season do you expect?
“It’s going to be a very long one with many races, so I think it’s really important to focus on the long game with a lot of races together at the end. I think it will be about being constant, get as many points as possible regularly rather than just focus on a strong start.”
What’s the goal for this season?
“Starting every season, the goal is fighting for the Championship and to be at the front. I’ve been close to it a couple of times so the goal this year is to feel good back at the front and fight with the fastest. I trust my team a lot and I know our bike is capable of doing a good job. I feel refreshed, motivated and ready to go, so the goal is to fight every weekend for the Championship.”
What are your strong points?
“My experience is something that I need to use to help me. My speed is also a strong point for me, especially for qualifying. This year we will have less track time and it will be important to find speed really quick to give as many good and fast laps possible. The plan is to enjoy it and use experience and speed to be there every Sunday afternoon.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO
- Arbolino is fired up and hungry for more success in 2023 after a stunning breakthrough season in Moto2 last year with the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team.
- Only World Champion won more races in 2022, as Arbolino triumphed in Austin, Buriram and Sepang to finish fourth in the overall rankings.
- The Italian is once again paired with crew chief Lucio Nicastro, with Miguel Angel Arias overseeing data recording and Guille Carrillo and Ben Doe completing the line-up as mechanics.
How has your pre-season been?
“The pre-season went very well. We worked hard with maximum concentration to focus on our goal. I kept my physical condition at its peak by training with all kinds of bikes. I feel relaxed and feel the preparation went very well. We are about to start with a lot of energy and good vibes and I’m ready to show a great level this season.”
What kind of season do you expect?
“I expect a long and good season. We finished 2022 in good shape, so it’s important to follow this line in terms of work and motivation. I need every member of the team to keep pushing and believing, and this is already happening. I feel everybody is pushing to their limit and that’s a real key point. I am confident, as there’s nothing we need to worry about, only to go for it and show the real level we have. I know I can be fast and consistent. I have all the weapons ready. Now it’s just time to go out and use them.”
What’s your goal for this season?
“The goal for this season is to work a lot and win as many races as possible. I will try to finish constantly at the top and that is what I want more than anything.”
/// MARC VAN DER STRATEN, Team Owner
“I am convinced this year will be a really, really good year. We have everything in place to be constantly fighting at the front with Sam and Tony. They are fast, talented and have repeatedly shown that they can lead and win races. The crew is also more motivated than ever to bring the colours of our team to the top again while remaining faithful to our values of passion, effort, honesty and excellence. Finally, I can’t start a season without thanking the support we receive from our friends and sponsors. To our new and loyal partners, we thank you very much for your trust. Now we just have to open the throttle and go for it!”