Lowes recovers to top French Friday practice
Sam Lowes shrugged off two crashes on Friday morning to set the fastest time in Moto2 P2 at Le Mans, while Tony Arbolino wasn’t far away in seventh.
- Despite weather forecasts that suggested rain would fall in Le Mans on Friday, Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino enjoyed dry conditions in both of the day’s sessions.
- Varying temperature was an issue for the Moto2 field, however, with riders experiencing track temperatures of just 19 degrees for P1, before they rose to 35 degrees in the afternoon.
/// SAM LOWES, 1st – 1’36.178
- Fresh from a dominant victory at Jerez, Sam started P1 with a succession of fast times before a crash at Turn 12 halted his progress. The 32-year old soon rejoined, only for a fast crash at Turn 11 to end his session.
- Both Sam and Tony’s mechanics joined to work together during the lunch break to ensure Sam’s bike was repaired completely for P2. And the results were spectacular, as the Briton set a strong rhythm as well as the quickest time of the day, 0.005s ahead of Pedro Acosta.
“I put this morning behind me and I rode well this afternoon”
“Like Jerez, I felt good straight away. It’s funny how it works: either it clicks straight away or you know you’ll have to knuckle down and work hard. In between the sessions I just relaxed because I knew from the morning, I had good speed. In P2 I did a longer run with used tyres to calm myself down and the pace was really strong. We changed for new tyres at the end and we did a good lap time. Despite the crashes, we managed to have a really productive day. We did a lot of laps with a good rhythm. We still need to decide on tyre choice because there was a big difference in temperature between the session this morning and this afternoon. I want to thank the team, both my side and Tony’s. They helped my guys between the session to get my bike back on track. That’s something we should be proud of, as that kind of spirit is what other teams strive for. I’m grateful for that. It’s been a positive day. I put this morning behind me and I rode well this afternoon. I don’t have to think of P1 anymore because the bike’s working well. We have to be smart tomorrow because it’ll be cold in P3. Then we have to do that lap in qualifying to get a place on the front two rows.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 7th – 1’36.637
- After working on a variety of chassis settings at last week’s one-day test at Jerez, Tony started the weekend steadily by placing seventh in P1.
- Tony showed a strong rhythm in P2, and felt great on used tyres. But the 22-year old still wasn’t feeling fully comfortable when new rubber was fitted. Fixing that remains a priority for the Italian ahead of qualifying.
“We need to find something to help me on my ‘hot lap’”
“My focus today was just to be comfortable on the bike and find some good speed. We need to find something to help me on my ‘hot lap’, when I’m trying to set my fastest time. That will be important in tomorrow’s qualifying. Anyway, we’re confident we can find a solution. Let’s keep working. We need a good Saturday, that’s really important for me here. I feel comfortable with used tyres, like I have done in the past races, but I don’t feel a big improvement when we fit new rubber. It’s clear that’s where we need to work. But I’m 100% sure we’ll manage to fix that tomorrow so we can get a good place on the grid for the race on Sunday.”