Strong 7th for Lowes in #MalaysianGP as Arbolino fights back to 10th
As ever, there was a healthy attendance on race day at the Sepang International Circuit, with 90,637 people in the grandstands to watch the 18th Moto2 race of the year, which started at 13:15 local time.
Sunday’s conditions were up there with the most challenging for the year, with Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino racing in temperatures of 33 degrees and 73% humidity. Starting 11th on the grid, Sam positioned himself well through the race’s first corners, which helped him to sit 10th on Lap 1.
After some early battles, the 33-year old with Jake Dixon and Somkiat Chantra, Sam found his groove, picking up a place on the last lap for 7th, just 5.7s off the podium.
Sam’s best ever result at the Sepang International Circuit is enough to remain 13th in the World Championship, with 82 points.
Honestly, I’m quite happy with that. Sepang has been a bad circuit for me in the past. I’ve never had a top 10 here so to get a 7th place, and some points on the board from a very difficult Friday is great. The team did a fantastic job over the weekend to improve the bike. I improved a few little bits with my riding and in the end, we did a good race. In the first few laps I struggled a little bit. After that we dug in and the rest of the race went well. Thanks to the team because it’s nice to get this OK result here. It’s something to build on for Qatar and Valencia, two nice tracks to finish the year on. Let’s keep working and go there to end the season well!
Tony’s race got off to a complicated start when Manuel Gonzalez crashed right in front of him at Turn 2 on the first lap, forcing the Italian to take avoiding action, which dropped him to 7th
The 23-year old then got caught up in a multi-rider melee at Turn 9 on lap 2, which left him running of track. Re-joining in 24th, Tony set about recovering and did so brilliantly, picking off 14 places to finish 10th.
The result means Tony’s hopes of winning the Moto2 World Championship will have to wait until next year. But here he secured 2nd in the championship, thanks to his 237.5 points, 65.5 more than Jake Dixon in 3rd.
It was a very tough weekend from Friday. We tried to improve from there and in the end, we showed we had the pace for the podium. But I made a mistake, and a few others around me made mistakes, and then I had to try and recover to the finish. But it’s like this. I’m second in the championship. We need to be proud and happy with this, and work for the next one. I’m a bit disappointed by some races this year. But we need to be better and try and fix the races where we weren’t strong for next year.