Lowes turns it around for crucial front row start at Assen
After a tricky start to the day, Sam Lowes achieved his sixth front row start of the season by qualifying third for the Dutch TT while Tony Arbolino was a solid 13th.
- Conditions on qualifying day for the 73rd Dutch TT were markedly improved from Friday with Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino enjoying a dry track in an ultra-competitive Q2 session, which saw just 0.429s cover the top 13 riders.
/// SAM LOWES, 3rd – 1’36.767
- It had been a difficult weekend for Sam prior to qualifying as he struggled with a lack of rear grip. The Briton crashed out of FP3 at the final chicane, meaning he ended the session in 12th.
- But the 31-year old worked with his team over the lunchbreak to make some crucial set-up changes ahead of Q2. He immediately felt more comfortable, and was soon challenging for pole position. His best time of 1’36.767 was just 0.031s off pole.
“I have the experience to get a good result tomorrow”
“This is a good track for me. When I’m feeling good, I know how to ride around here. This weekend I didn’t have that rhythm and couldn’t ride like I wanted to ride. We changed some things for qualifying. I calmed down a bit in the braking zones and the team gave me a package that I could ride how I wanted. A big thank you to them. Qualifying is so tight in this class so if you can start on the front row, you’re always in the mix for the race. I feel like I have the experience to get a good result tomorrow. That feeling I had in qualifying to do good laps at the end, I can take into the race. Going off previous years, the last eight laps here are key. There are probably eight riders that can be in the group early on but that will spread out toward the end. I just need to keep the rhythm, not make mistakes and not use too much of the tyre. I believe the key is to stay in the group in the first half and then be there to use the grip and pace at the end.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 13th – 1’37.165
- After ending Friday in 13th, Tony showed immediate signs of improvement in FP3, setting the fifth fastest time. Crucially, he was able to manage his rear tyre well in two separate runs, the first over seven laps, the second over six.
- Tony could place 13th in Q2, but was just 0.429s off pole position. The 21-year old’s bike was working well, as he clocked the fastest top speed in Q2 (261.5kph).
“The pace will be good tomorrow, we are not that far away”
“We made some mistakes in the first laps of Q2. We didn’t push from the start and we missed a bit. After I found my flow and my lap time was dropping a lot. Honestly, we were not so far away. But we still need to improve a bit more. The pace will be good tomorrow because the bike is not changing a lot after many laps, so I’m happy about that. It will be a good race. We just need to find something for overtaking, which is an area we miss at the moment. We’ll try to improve there and be focussed. Let’s see how the race goes. The goal is the same as always. I don’t think the pace at the front of the race will be crazy because the riders in front were not the riders we expected. It will be a strange race. The first laps will be important to gain positions and then after we’ll find the flow and try to be as close to the front as possible.”