Arbolino inch perfect in classy #ArgentinaGP win, 10th for Lowes
Conditions worsened in northern Argentina on Sunday with overnight rain and a consistent morning drizzle leaving the 4.8km Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit wet for the Moto2 race, which started at 12.20 local time.
As the Moto2 field had no real running in fully wet conditions all weekend, the race was shortened to 2/3 race distance, with Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino running 14 laps instead of 21.
Tony started expertly from 8th on the grid, and took four places on the opening lap to sit 4th. After a neat move on Jake Dixon at turn 13 on the third lap, Tony set about reeling in leader Alonso Lopez, 0.7s ahead.
It was then a race of patience as Tony caught the Spaniard ahead, and studied him before a fine move at turn 5 gave him the lead three laps from the finish.
Tony held on to win the 4th Moto2 race of his career by 0.66s to take the lead of the World Championship with 41 points. This was also his 5th podium from the past 6 races.
It’s amazing to win and take back-to-back podiums. And to be leading the championship is the most incredible feeling ever, I swear. I’m super happy with my crew. They have believed in me and they’ve worked like crazy for me. I felt great in the rain, and they gave me the perfect bike. Now we need to keep going and maintain focus so we can improve my comfort on the bike at the next round in Texas. I want to thank everyone who has helped me get here!
Sam started steadily from 14th on the grid but lacked confidence to push early on. After dropping to 18th, he started making progress and had climbed to 12th by lap four.
The Briton then picked up his pace, setting personal best times on laps 9 and 11 as he tagged onto the back of a six-rider fight for 5th. His speed in the closing laps was similar to the men contesting victory.
A good move on Manuel Gonzalez on the penultimate lap put Sam 10th, which earned 6 valuable points for the championship. He now has 15 points from two races.
It was a strange wet race. It was difficult starting 14th. I was 18th on the first lap so I paid the price again for a bad qualifying. I’ve not felt the best in the rain over the past few years but I felt we did a good job with the bike today. I’m happy with the way we’re working and riding but obviously can’t be happy with 10th place. But it’s more points on the board. I was really strong in the second part of the race, overtaking riders. It’s nice to have something to build on. We go to Austin where we plan to make some more steps forward. I like the feeling with this year’s bike, and I’ve been OK in all conditions. We just need to make that last final step in confidence after last year to get back to being on it from the start of not just races, but in the first laps of sessions as well. It’s that last bit we’re currently missing. But once we get that we’ll be good to go.