Lowes pole, double front row for Marc VDS at Le Mans!
In a great day for the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team, Sam Lowes scored a second successive pole position in Moto2, while Tony Arbolino qualified third.
- The rain that was forecast for this weekend made an appearance on Saturday morning, meaning P3, the first Moto2 session of the day, started in wet conditions before drying out toward the end of the 30 minutes.
- A bumper crowd was in attendance to watch Moto2 qualifying, which kicked off in perfect dry conditions and track temperatures of 37 degrees at 13:45 local time.
/// SAM LOWES, 1st – 1’35.791
- Sam saw no point in taking a risk early in P3. The Briton made a brief appearance on wets before exiting on slick tyres in the final minutes, when he set the 9th fastest time.
- The 32-year then gradually got up to speed in Q2. He didn’t get flustered when his fourth lap – a 1’35.901 – was cancelled as yellow flags were shown for a crash, and followed that up with a 1’35.791, a new Moto2 lap record at this track.
- This is the 20th pole position of Sam’s Moto2 career. No other rider has scored as many poles in the history of the class.
“This was the target”
“I’ve felt quite strong this weekend. I knew that I could do a lap in the 1’35s. This was the target and I did it so I’m really happy with that. The race tomorrow will be a close one. A couple of guys like Tony, Alonso Lopez and Pedro Acosta have good pace. I feel like we can do a nice job tomorrow. I’m just happy because I was fast in Jerez and then we’ve come here and have the speed to get another good result. Regarding tyre choice, before qualifying I was quite convinced to go with the soft rear tyre. But in the first few laps I didn’t feel so good, as it started pushing the front and then dropped a bit. We’ll look at the data now, make a decision tonight and see how tomorrow looks. Whatever we choose isn’t a gamble, I’m sure we can be competitive with both options. But obviously we need to make the right call. We’ll get a good rest tonight and look forward to the race.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 3rd – 1’36.053
- After Friday’s running, Tony requested changes to his bike that would help him make the most of a fresh tyre. His team responded, and the 22-year old felt immediate improvements when he exited pit lane with slick tyres at the end of P3, a session in which he placed 2nd.
- Tony then used Pedro Acosta as a reference in the second half of Q2, which helped him set the third fastest time. This was the Italian’s sixth front row start in Moto2, and his first since last year’s Malaysian GP.
“I was convinced we had the speed to be here”
“We missed the first row in the races so far this year but I was convinced we had the speed to be here. I was just struggling a bit to reach it. But we worked really hard with the team, thought a lot about what we could improve, and they worked on the bike so I had a better feeling. I think I’m fast for the race as well. The key tomorrow will be pushing at my maximum from the front. I’m confident we can set a good pace and fight for the podium. This is our target so let’s keep going like this. I’m confident we can finish this weekend at Le Mans in the best way possible.”