Solid points for Lowes with 9th in #CatalanGP, Arbolino 17th
In a race where tyre management was key, Sam Lowes finished 9th and was always in the hunt for a top six finish, while Tony Arbolino was 17th.
Thankfully the rain which threatened to arrive on Sunday morning stayed away, meaning Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino enjoyed dry conditions for Sunday’s race and track temperatures of 29 degrees.
A strong Sunday crowd of 71,855 were in attendance at the Circuit of Barcelona-Catalunya to watch the 11th Moto2 race of 2023.
Sam enjoyed a strong start, picking off one rider from 11th on the grid on the run to Turn 1 to sit 10th at the close of lap one.
The Briton knew carefully managed his rear tyre in the early laps before pushing late on, when his pace was similar to the podium contenders. The 32-year old managed to climb one position and came home just 4.6s back of the victor.
As a result, Sam continues to sit 10th in the World Championship with 74 points.
It was a complicated race. I’m quite happy with my start and my pace in the middle was good. The last couple of laps I just missed a bit to move forward. Our distance to the winner wasn’t much at all so we can take the positives from this weekend. But of course, I can’t be happy with a 9th place. We have back-to-back weekends with here and Misano and I’m riding quite well. If we can just focus on qualifying in the next weeks, it’ll improve our results for sure. In a close race like that, if you’re in the mix at the beginning, then you’ll be there. Pedro (Acosta) started just in front of me and we could see to get to the front you have to use more tyre. We’ll really aim for those first two rows next week and keep building because we aren’t far off.
Even by Tony’s standards, he got an outstanding start from 20th on the grid, picking up eight places in the track’s first sector and then another to sit 11th at the end of lap one.
But the Italian continued to struggle with a lack of rear grip through the race and was unable to hang onto the fight for the top ten. The 23-year old eventually brought the bike home to finish 17th.
The result sees Tony remain 2nd in the World Championship standings with 164 points to his name, 22 behind leader Pedro Acosta.
Of course, I did well off the start. I always try to do my best but the truth is we didn’t understand how to be fast and competitive here. We just couldn’t really solve a few things that were holding us back this weekend. It makes me a bit sad. I’m not worried about my quality. Nor am I worried about the quality of my crew. But there weren’t some positive things that helped me improve here, with my riding style. But next week will be another story in Misano with a different rear tyre compound. So, we need to think about that, try to understand a few things that didn’t work here, and solve them.