Eazi Grip

Sam Lowes unfortunately crashes out in fifth while Tony Arbolino secures points in Japanese Moto2 round


Sam Lowes was quickly up to speed at the Mobility Resort Motegi on Friday as the Briton finished the day in 3rd, while Tony Arbolino feels there is more to come after placing 18th.

  • Track conditions in Japan were much less punishing than India one week ago, as Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino rode under overcast skies and in ambient temperatures of 28 degrees in P2.
  • Both men have a chance to improve on today’s times in Saturday morning’s P3, which kicks off at 9:25 local time, before Moto2 qualifying starts at 13:45.

SAM LOWES, 3rd – 1’50.546

  • Riding at the Japanese venue when fully fit for the first time since 2019, Sam used P1 to refamiliarise himself to the track layout. After suffering a small crash at Turn 5 and ending the session in 17th, the 33-year old suggested a few set-up tweaks for the afternoon.
  • Working on gearing, front and rear suspension adjustments as well as assessing the harder rear tyre, Sam was in the zone in P2, and set the 3rd fastest time, just 0.150s off pace setter Somkiat Chantra.

“I was relaxed and we made a nice rhythm”

“Today was OK. I was getting back into the flow of riding this circuit. Obviously, I rode here last year but I was injured so I didn’t do the race. Overall, it was a positive day. The team did a really good job to improve the bike from the morning session to the afternoon. Still, I need to improve a couple of areas. But it was a good day. I enjoyed riding the bike. I was relaxed and we made a nice rhythm. Let’s see what the weather’s like tomorrow. There are one or two sectors where I can improve, or at least work to make my best lap more consistent. Let’s get a good sleep tonight and try and put it on the first two rows tomorrow so we can use our pace well in the race.”

TONY ARBOLINO, 18th – 1’51.414

  • After an excellent second place in India, Tony started the day by working on bike balance and evaluating the two rear tyre compounds available this weekend. The Italian ended P1 in 11th.
  • The 23-year old was content with his rhythm in the afternoon using the harder rear tyre option. Indeed, Arbolino posted 9 laps in the 1’51s/1’52s. But he found no improved feeling with the softer compound when pushing for a time attack, meaning he ended the session 20th, and 18th in the combined standings.

“I’m confident in my own speed”

“I have to say today wasn’t the best Friday of the year. We were confident enough to try a few things to understand the set-up direction going forward. It wasn’t my best day but at least we understood a few settings that didn’t work. We always take the positives from every situation and that’s the most important thing. Tomorrow is another day. We’ll take a step back now, analyse all the data from the two sessions and be focussed on doing a good job tomorrow. I’m confident in my own speed, and with the crew that I have, I’m sure it will be a different story on Sunday!”


Sam Lowes is confident of contesting the top positions after qualifying 8th for the Japanese GP at Mobility Resort Motegi while Tony Arbolino will start from 13th.

  • Despite forecasts predicting rain, Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino enjoyed dry running throughout Saturday at the Mobility Resort Motegi.
  • Further dry conditions are expected for tomorrow’s 22-lap race, which kicks off at 13:15 local time on Sunday.

SAM LOWES, 8th – 1’50.237

  • Sam’s strong weekend continued in P3 when he finished 4th and posted 7 laps in the 1’50s/1’51s – pace that indicate a podium challenge in possible on Sunday.
  • The 33-year old pitted after his first flying lap in Q2. He then set four successive lap times in the low-mid 1’50s, the second of which was enough for 8th. In the end, the Briton finished just 0.179s off the front row.

“Our pace is quite strong so we’re positive about tomorrow”

“I wanted a little more from qualifying. The aim was to be on the first two rows but we couldn’t put the lap together. Our pace is quite strong so we’re positive about tomorrow. If we can get a good start then I’m confident we can get in the mix. We’ll keep working tonight to find a bit of an improvement in some areas. I need to make a step in Sector 4. The team did a good job but I feel like we just didn’t quite nail the time attack like we hoped. Anyway, it wasn’t too bad and with a good start we can be up there, fighting in the lead group, and looking to fight for the podium tomorrow. That’s my target as I feel like my pace has been quite strong all weekend.”

TONY ARBOLINO, 13th – 1’50.672

  • After ending Friday in 18th, Tony worked hard with his crew to analyse where they could improve his setting. Results were immediate on Saturday morning, as the Italian posted his first 1’50s time on just his 4th lap of the session. He went on to finish P3 in 8th.
  • Tony couldn’t quite replicate that position in Q2 as he set his fastest time on the penultimate lap of a 7-lap run. He ended the session just 0.774s off pole position.

“We’ll try and do a good pace all race long”

“Today was another normal qualifying. But it’s not so bad as we improved quite a bit from yesterday and know where we’re losing at the moment. We will improve the feeling for tomorrow’s race and there we’ll try and do a good pace all race long. This will be more or less the secret to gain some positions.”


Tony Arbolino fought until the final lap at the Mobility Resort Motegi on Sunday to finish 11th place while Sam Lowes crashed out of a promising 5th.

  • The threat of rain was ever present on Sunday at the Mobility Resort Motegi circuit but it held off for the Moto2 race, which got underway at 13:15 local time.
  • 40,908 people were in attendance on Sunday at the Japanese venue for the 15th Moto2 race of the 2022 season.


  • Sam started well from 8th on the grid and picked up 3 places at the first 2 turns to sit 5th. The Briton was then involved in a multi-rider fight for 2nd.
  • But just as the 33-year old attempted to move forward, he suffered a Turn 14 crash on lap 7 when in 5th place.
  • As a result, Sam still sits 13th in the World Championship with 74 points.

“I made a small mistake in the last corner”

“I’m very disappointed with today. The team did a great job all weekend. The bike was good in the race but the conditions were difficult and I just made a small mistake in the last corner. It’s a shame because I was fighting for nice positions, in the top five. Already in the first laps I was able to go forward, which has been a problem in races before this year. That was positive. We just need to take the positives from the weekend and take them to Indonesia. Sorry to the team for the small mistake. It’s unfortunate to happen this weekend after last weekend’s problem. We’ll keep working and thanks to the team for all their hard work.”


  • Tony started well from 13th on the grid to gain 2 places on lap 1 and sit among a multi-rider fight for the top 6.
  • But the Italian wasn’t feeling comfortable on his bike. A mistake when braking for Turn 11 on lap 12 dropped him to 12th. He kept fighting and was able to pass Alonso Lopez for 11th on the final lap.
  • Tony remains second in the World Championship with 202 points, 50 behind leader Pedro Acosta.

“I was unable to do any better today”

“I was unable to do any better today. I tried everything but I was still suffering with the bike during the race. I just wasn’t feeling good and couldn’t get comfortable. These are things that can happen. We’ve faced it and we need to understand why so we can be better at the next race. There is still a lot of racing to go this year so I’m still up for the fight. I’m still motivated. My mind feels good. I feel good with everything and everyone around me so we’ll keep going so we can return even stronger in Indonesia.”

Posted on Monday, October 2nd, 2023 in News

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