Lowes fourth in baking Barcelona heat
Scorching hot early summer conditions tested Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino to their limit as they ended day one of Free Practice at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in fourth and 15th respectively.
- Track temperature rocketed from 43 degrees this morning to a demanding 54 degrees for FP2, and with the heat impacting on grip levels, only 10 riders in the 31-strong field improved their times this afternoon.
- The battle for an automatic place in tomorrow’s Q2 kicks off with the crucial FP3 session tomorrow at 1055am local time.
/// SAM LOWES: 4th, 1:44.575, 34 laps
- Lowes wasted no time in finding his confidence and speed at the 4.6km Montmelo track and a 1:44.575 set on only his fifth lap of the day placed the Briton in an excellent fourth position at the conclusion of FP1.
- As temperatures soared, Lowes preferred to work on the race settings of his Kalex machine ahead of Sunday’s 22-lap encounter and his best time clocked this morning ensured he remained in fourth position on the combined standings just 0.125s off top spot.
“We definitely have the potential to fight for the podium”
“I feel like we’ve had a strong first day here and we were able to work on a few things that helped me find a fast pace. It was extremely hot this afternoon but that gave us the opportunity to work on the front tyre to see how it works in those high temperatures. I felt strong and I’m sure I’d have been in the top four again this afternoon but lost my best lap. For an outright fast lap we need a bit more stability but in terms of my race pace I’m happy with the balance of the bike. We know we can make another step tomorrow and we’ll work to be fast and consistent here. Consistency in these conditions is so important and I’m happy with the work we’ve done on used tyres. Qualifying inside the top six will be key because I think we have the potential to fight for the podium.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO: 15th, 1:45.372, 29 laps
- A 1:45.372 set this morning saw the Italian end the opening 40-minute session in 15th position as he worked on fine tuning the settings assessed during last month’s two-day test session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
- The sharp increase in track temperature meant it was a difficult challenge to lower lap times this afternoon, but Arbolino is confident he can improve his speed to book a direct place in Q2 tomorrow.
“The main priority is to go straight into Q2”
“It wasn’t the best Friday we’ve had in 2022. Over the last couple of races and here at the test recently we’ve experienced some small issues that don’t allow me to feel comfortable or show my full potential. I’m lacking front feeling, but we will keep working until we find a good solution. We’ll analyse the data again, but it might just be a case of me riding around the problem. Tomorrow is another day and FP3 gives us a chance to make sure we get into the top 14 and go straight into Q2. That is the main priority right now because while my pace is not so bad, we can definitely improve.”