Wet and wild start for Elf Marc VDS Racing Team in Portugal
Heavy rain and powerful coastal gusts made it a challenging day for Elf Marc VDS Racing riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino at Portugal’s spectacular Algarve International Circuit.
- Wet, windy, and cold conditions this morning meant Lowes and Arbolino didn’t venture out on the 4.59km Portimao track at any stage during FP1 before both tackled treacherous conditions this afternoon.
- Lowes and Arbolino finished fifth and seventh respectively ahead of the crucial FP3 session tomorrow, which is scheduled to get underway at 10:55am local time.
/// SAM LOWES, 5th, 2:01.413, 11 laps
- Having decided against riding in far from ideal conditions this morning, Lowes did go out in a rain-hit FP2 to assess grip levels and the performance of the 2022 Kalex chassis in wet conditions.
- The Briton rode well within his limits during the second session but was still able to deliver a superb time of 2:01.413, which got him as high as third before he eventually secured fifth spot.
“We’ll be ready to fight for the top places in all conditions”
“It was important to ride this afternoon because it was full wet conditions, which gave us the opportunity to gather some important data. We had some wet track time in Indonesia, but it wasn’t really full wet and today it was good to get a proper understanding of the bike in those conditions. I think we’ve made a positive step compared to last year in rain conditions and I felt pretty good on the bike today. I’m looking forward to tomorrow even though it looks like we might have to contend with strange conditions again. Hopefully the weather is better than today, but we’ll be ready to fight for the top places in all conditions.”
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 7th, 2:01.913, 18 laps
- With air temperatures only reaching a chilly 12 degrees this morning, COTA winner Arbolino was one of the 16 riders who opted not to circulate in the opening Free Practice session.
- Arbolino’s incredibly high confidence in dry conditions transferred over into the wet today and after completing a session high run of 18 laps, the Italian was satisfied with progress to finish seventh quickest.
“The bike worked well, and I feel strong in the rain”
“We only managed to complete one session today because of the difficult conditions but I felt good this afternoon. I had a good feeling on the bike, and I wasn’t taking a lot of risks because we expect the conditions to improve throughout the weekend. I just wanted to use this afternoon to make sure I felt fine with the bike and once I started pushing, I was able to find a competitive pace. I could have been faster, but I didn’t really put together one really good lap with four good sectors, but I must be happy because the bike was working well, and I feel strong in the rain conditions.”