Eazi Grip

Valiant sixth place for Tony Arbolino in Indonesia

Lowes inside the top three on Friday at Mandalika

Sam Lowes started the Indonesian GP on the front foot by setting the 3rd fastest time on Friday, while Tony Arbolino was a solid 9th.

  • From the first session of the day, Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino had to contend with stiflingly hot track temperatures (54 degrees in P1, 58 degrees in P2) and humidity of 65% on the island of Lombok in Indonesia.
  • The 4.3km Mandalika Street Circuit was resurfaced last November, meaning Friday was the first chance for the Moto2 field to ride on the new tarmac. The results were impressive as the fastest time of the day was 1.1s under last year’s outright circuit record.

SAM LOWES, 3rd – 1’34.678

  • After finishing 4th here last year, Sam started the day well, ending P1 in 4th place and already showing some solid rhythm.
  • With a few tweaks to set-up for P2, Lowes set 11 laps in the 1’34s/1’35s during two consistent runs. The fastest of those came two laps into his final run, with the Briton ending the day 0.2s off pace setter Pedro Acosta.

“We need to keep working on it, but it was a positive day one”

“I’m happy with today. It’s nice to ride this track again. Obviously, we’ve only been here once before and that was last year. But today was good. We made a good improvement between the two sessions. I need to work on Sector 4 a little bit, to figure it out and maybe we can improve the bike there, too. My pace isn’t so bad. We need to keep working on it, but it was a positive day one. We know our Saturdays have let us down in the last weekends, which have then made our Sundays more difficult. So, we need to fully focus tonight, have a good P3 tomorrow morning and then qualify on that front row to give us a chance to fight in the race.”

TONY ARBOLINO, 9th – 1’35.053

  • Tony showed good speed in the morning session while adapting to the new track surface. He finished 10th in P1 and suggested some set-up changes to his team to make over the lunch break.
  • The Italian started P2 with a very consistent 11-lap run, when he completed 8 laps in the mid-1’35s. On his final lap of the afternoon, the 23-year old improved to sit 9th, 0.5s off the fastest time.

“We still need to find something both in terms of my riding and the package”

“The first day in Lombok is done. The approach was the right one but we still need to find something both in terms of my riding and the package. It looks like we’re fast and the feeling is there. Let’s see how we can do better tomorrow, there are a few small changes we can make to the setting. And that’s it. We’ll work hard for qualifying and we are confident we can have a good weekend here in Indonesia.”

Third row for Lowes after ultra-competitive Indonesian qualifying

Sam Lowes qualified 8th for the Indonesian GP while Tony Arbolino was 10th after a dramatic Q2 session in Lombok.

  • Conditions were as stifling at the Mandalika International Street Circuit on Saturday as they were on Friday, with track temperatures reaching 60 degrees and humidity hitting 65% for qualifying.
  • Saturday’s Q2 session was one of the most competitive qualifying sessions of the year, with 0.019s covering the top 3 and 0.256s separating first and 10th!

SAM LOWES 8th – 1’34.382

  • Sam used the morning P3 session to demonstrate his good rhythm at the Indonesian venue once more, as he posted the 6th fastest time, while lapping in the 1’34s an impressive 9 times.
  • But a few set-up changes ahead of qualifying didn’t pay off for the Briton, who couldn’t get comfortable in the 15-minute shootout. Despite setting a lap time just 0.227s off pole, Sam was 8th.

“It was a complicated afternoon but I’m sure we can improve”

“It was another disappointing qualifying. We changed the bike after P3 but didn’t do the best job. I struggled to be consistent and couldn’t string the laps together so it was very frustrating to not show our full potential in qualifying again. Of course, that makes it more difficult for the race. But starting there is not so far back. We need to anaylse the situation well and put the best package together for tomorrow and then see. Let’s look at things tonight so we can try and get my best feeling back for tomorrow because I nearly made a few mistakes and crashed a few times. It was a complicated afternoon but I’m sure we can improve the situation for tomorrow!”

TONY ARBOLINO, 10th – 1’34.411

  • After a solid opening day in Indonesia, Tony showed he had taken a small step forward by posting a strong 7-lap run at the end of the morning P3 session, when he finished 9th.
  • The 23-year old was pushing for a place in the top 3 in Q2. But a fast crash at Turn 5 put paid to his chances to improving. Thankfully, Tony was OK after the fall and will start from 10th, on the 4th row.

“We’re getting closer and closer to my ideal feeling”

“The second day is over in Indonesia! For sure, tomorrow is the most important day as it’s the race. The good thing is we’re getting closer and closer to my ideal feeling. It’s just the small crash in qualifying came when I was trying a few different things. That was a shame as I felt like I had more to give. But in terms of pace, I feel ready for Sunday. As always, we’ll give our everything and I think it will be a good race for us.”

Valiant sixth place for Arbolino

Tony Arbolino fought until the very end at the Mandalika Street Circuit to score 10 important points for 6th place, while Sam Lowes came home in 10th.

  • 73,129 people were in attendance to watch the 2nd ever Grand Prix held at the Mandalika Street Circuit in Indonesia on Sunday, the biggest of the weekend so far.
  • Like the previous two days, track temperatures were among the hottest of the year, at 60 degrees. That meant Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino had to take care of Dunlop’s soft rear tyre option for the 22-lap Moto2 race.


  • Starting from 8th on the grid, Sam was pushed back to 14th in the usual Moto2 melee at Turn 1 and then consolidated his position in the opening laps.
  • The Briton then launched his recovery, picking up four places by lap 8. But Sam’s progress was stalled when pushed wide by Joe Roberts on the 16th lap, causing him to drop 2 places. In the end he came home 10th.
  • This result keeps Sam in 13th place in the World Championship with 80 points to his name.

“I didn’t have the feeling I wanted in the 2nd half of the race”

“Of course, we’re not happy to finish 10th. But the conditions were difficult and I didn’t have the feeling I wanted, especially in the 2nd half of the race. My start was bad because I was a bit nervous, maybe after the last couple of results. Then after that when I got some clear track I expected to come forward. Then we had an issue with the rear of the bike that was out of my and the team’s control. It was unfortunate as we didn’t come forward like I expected. But it was important to finish and we have something to build on for Australia, where it’ll surely be a few degrees cooler than today! It was a complicated race so we have to take the positives. There were some good points, and I was fast in some sessions. We’ll keep working to improve and get back to the level where we should be.”


  • Fighting through from 10th on the grid, Tony was 6th through the 1st sector before passing Somkiat Chantra and Fermin Aldeguer in quick succession to end lap 1 in 4th.
  • By lap 4, the Italian was up to 3rd. But soon after he started to suffer reduced performance from his rear tyre. After a good fight with Manuel Gonzalez and Jake Dixon, the 23-year old lost 5th place on the penultimate lap due a big slide at Turn 5.
  • Tony stays in 2nd place in the World Championship fight with 212 points, 65 behind leader Pedro Acosta.

“I tried so hard to push a lot and do some different things to be faster”

“It was a good race for the first laps. I tried so hard to push a lot and do some different things to be faster today. Everything was going well more or less but then I had a problem with the rear tyre, like a lot of riders. I was losing the grip on corner entry and I was risking a lot to do the same pace as before. We need to understand why we were losing there before we travel to Australia so we can be faster there. Let’s see how it goes.”

Posted on Wednesday, October 18th, 2023 in News

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