Lowes claims top five to start Australian GP
Cold temperatures, powerful winds and a mixture of sun and rain made it an opening day dominated by rapidly changing and unpredictable weather conditions for Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders.
- The return of Moto2 to the spectacular Phillip Island track came with typically demanding conditions, but Lowes and Arbolino coped superbly well and rose to the challenge to compete for the top five in both FP1 and FP2.
- The battle for an automatic Q2 place will commence tomorrow in the third and final Free Practice session, which is scheduled to get underway at 1055am local time tomorrow morning.
/// SAM LOWES: 5th, 1:34.544, 36 laps
- The Briton’s journey back to full fitness from recent left shoulder injuries took a big stride forward in FP1 when Lowes finished just over 0.2s away from the top six in eighth position.
- Lowes quickly rocketed himself into second position in the early part of FP2 and an excellent first day in Phillip Island was completed when he posted a late 1:34.544 to finish fifth on the combined standings.
“I’ve made another big step physically after Buriram”
“FP1 was just a case of getting up to speed with the track again and also understanding what we needed to improve for the second session. My shoulder is definitely improving and that is a big bonus for me because this track is hard on your upper body. And it’s made even more difficult with the strong winds because you have to fight to keep control of the bike. But I feel really good and I’ve made another big step in the gap after Buriram. We gained a lot of good information in FP2 because we were able to experiment with a couple of different settings. Hopefully it is going to be dry tomorrow because we need to do more work assessing the best front tyre option.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO: 13th, 1:35.001, 36 laps
- Thai Grand Prix winner Arbolino was quickly in the groove this morning and he ended the first 40-minute session in fifth place following a brief red flag to clear debris off the 4.4km track left by an early crash.
- With strong gusts of wind battering the coastal track again this afternoon, Arbolino was missing full confidence to attack at his maximum but crucially he clinched a provisional Q2 place ahead of more expected cold conditions tomorrow.
“I was fast this morning and satisfied with my pace”
“Today has been a positive day because we have had to deal with some complicated weather conditions. I was fast this morning and satisfied to be in the top five, but unfortunately in the second session we encountered some small problems and that just made me lose a bit of feeling. You need confidence and feeling to be fast around this track, but we will analyse the data and come back stronger tomorrow to show the same potential we had during FP1.”