Lowes and Arbolino off to fast start in France
High temperatures and high grip levels at the legendary Le Mans track enabled Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders to kick off the French Grand Prix weekend in positive fashion today.
- A busy day of intense preparation work ahead of the seventh round of the 2022 World Championship ended with Lowes and Arbolino once again in the heat of the battle for the top three.
- Lowes was fourth and Arbolino fifth going into tomorrow’s vital FP3 session, which kicks off qualifying day in Le Mans at 1055am local time.
/// SAM LOWES, 4th, 1:36.403, 33 laps
- A 1:36.654 in the middle of a 19-lap stint this morning got the weekend off to an excellent start for Lowes as he closed FP1 with the fourth fastest time.
- Lowes quickly upped his pace in hot and sunny conditions this afternoon and an early attack of 1:36.403 elevated him into the top three, but a front-end crash at turn 13 left the Briton once again in fourth spot.
“I like this circuit and felt competitive all day”
“We’ve had a good day today and I’ve felt good on the bike. I like this circuit and felt competitive all day. Unfortunately, we had a small crash in FP2 and that cost me a bit of time in the middle of the session while we were trying to get some data on the soft rear tyre. We went back out on the hard compound to understand its potential and now we have to analyse the data tonight and come up with a good plan tonight to work out what will be the best option for Sunday’s race.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 5th, 1:36.517, 35 laps
- A focus on race set-up and gaining braking stability were the priorities in the opening 40-minute session for the Italian, who completed 19 laps while building confidence to end 16th on the FP1 timesheet.
- The 21-year-old made further excellent progress in FP2 and after improving by the big margin of over 0.6s, Arbolino ended the first day looking strong and confident in fifth position.
“I’m sure we can challenge for a place on the first two rows”
“FP1 this morning was all about working on my riding style at this track and we didn’t use the soft tyre because we wanted to concentrate solely on have a proper chance to assess the race set-up. I knew we’d be faster this afternoon with the soft tyre and the improvement was very big and that makes me very happy. We can improve the feeling on the front tomorrow and I’m sure we can gain more time and challenge for a place on the first two rows in qualifying.”