Lowes fast out of the blocks on opening day in Valencia
Sam Lowes was among the fastest Moto2 names on Friday at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, placing 5th after P2 while team-mate Tony Arbolino was 10th.
- The Ricardo Tormo Circuit played host to the final Friday of action of 2023, with track conditions changing substantially between the cold P1 (8 degrees track temperature) and warmer P2 (25 degrees).
- Today was the first chance for Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino to try the new track surface around the 4.01km layout. First impressions from both men were positive.
/// SAM LOWES, 5th – 1’34.016
- Sam was immediately in the zone on Friday morning, posting the 6th fastest time, just 0.354s off the top. He went quicker in P2, with a time that was just 0,248s off pace setter Pedro Acosta.
- The Briton spent the afternoon assessing the two different front tyre options, as well as trying two different set-up directions. Choosing the best of those, and improving his speed in the track’s 4th Sector, is the priority for Saturday.
“I’m quite happy as we did quite a few good laps”
“I felt good here at a track that I always enjoy. The new surface and conditions were nice for this time of year. It’s still a little bit fresh. The grip was good but it dropped a little in the afternoon. We tried both front tyres in P2, so we have to decide which one is best because one was much better in the morning, while the other was better in the afternoon. Overall, I’m quite happy as we did quite a few good laps. Sector 4 is an area where I need to improve, which is nice because there is a clear area in which I can make a step. Also, I’m lacking a bit of consistency in Sector 2. I tried two different set-up directions in the afternoon, with the bike being in two different positions. Honestly, I can’t decide which one I prefer. But the guys will have a look at the data tonight and we’ll make a plan for Saturday. It was a good first day. P5, a good pace and it’s the last one of the year so it was nice to be solid.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 10th – 1’34.329
- Keen to end a successful season strongly, Tony started Friday well, ending P1 in 5th position, and was up among the fastest names.
- But the 23-year old didn’t find the ideal feeling in the track’s numerous heavy-braking spots in the afternoon. 13th in P2, Tony was 10th overall courtesy of his P1 time and is confident a few tweaks to set-up will see him competitive on Saturday.
“I’m sure we can have a strong final qualifying session”
“The feeling wasn’t that bad in the first session. Then we faced some problems that we weren’t expecting in P2. So, I’m looking forward to having a better Saturday. The good thing is we aren’t far away and we know there are a few areas where we can improve. I’m struggling most of all to stop the bike in the braking zone, and line it up well for the perfect exit. I’m hoping we can be better in that area tomorrow and I’m sure we can have a strong final qualifying session of the year.”