Moto2 Qualifying: Lowes Sets a Lap Record Around Le Mans

After leading the way yesterday, Sam Lowes set the fastest-ever lap around the Le Mans circuit on a Moto2 bike on his way to claiming pole position. He will be joined on the front row of the grid tomorrow by Alonso Lopez and Tony Arbolino.

As expected in Q1, no rider was certain to make it through to the second round of qualifying, but Jeremy Alcoba, Dennis Foggia and Fermin Aldeguer hoped they could secure a top-four position in Q1 to get them onto the front six rows of the grid. Few riders were able to test out the track with slick tyres this morning due to the track conditions.

Lukas Tulovic set the early pace with a 1.36.539 and this remained the top time until the final moments of the session when Fermin Aldeguer went 0.1s faster around the Le Mans circuit. Along with the Speed Up Racing and Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP riders, Barry Baltus and Bo Bendsneyder made it through the second round of qualifying.

In the second part of qualifying, Filip Salac and Celestino Vietti were topping the time sheets early on with a 1:36.135 and 1:36.178 respectively. Pedro Acosta struggled with the bike towards the start of the session, slotting into sixth place just over two-tenths off the pace set by Salac.

With just under eight minutes to go, Bendsneyder went down in the fourth sector. This cancelled the laps of multiple riders but also allowed them to regroup and plan their attacks for the rest of the session.

Arbolino, Jake Dixon and Lowes were following each other on the track with five and a half minutes to go, setting fastest sector after fastest sector. The tow provided by the two riders in front of Lowes, allowed the ELF Marc VDS Racing Team rider to set the fastest lap around the circuit on a Moto2 bike with a 1:35.791.

Tulovic and Dixon went down at the same time at turns nine and seven respectively causing yellow flags in sectors two, three and four with just over two minutes left on the clock. Luckily, these flags were cleared quickly.

With five seconds left, Lopez crossed the line to go second fastest with a 1:36.036. He was about to start his final flying lap before Aron Canet crashed and caused a red flag. The red flag was due to Canet’s bike being in the middle of the track.

Following the red flag, the session did not restart as there were only a few seconds left on the clock. This means that, for the second race in a row, Lowes will start with no other rider in front of him. Championship leader Acosta starts the race from the middle of the second row with Salac ahead of him and Vietti behind.

2023 FRENCH MOTO2 GRAND PRIX, LE MANS – QUALIFYING RESULTS
POS RIDER NAT TEAM BIKE TIME
1 Sam Lowes GBR Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 35.791s
2 Alonso Lopez SPA Lightech SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 1m 36.036s
3 Tony Arbolino ITA Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 36.053s
4 Filip Salac CZE QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 1m 36.135s
5 Pedro Acosta SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 1m 36.169s
6 Celestino Vietti ITA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 1m 36.178s
7 Somkiat Chantra THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 1m 36.180s
8 Jake Dixon GBR Inde GASGAS Aspar M2 (Kalex) 1m 36.225s
9 Manuel Gonzalez SPA Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 (Kalex) 1m 36.354s
10 Barry Baltus BEL Fieten Olie Racing GP (Kalex) 1m 36.437s
11 Fermín Aldeguer SPA Lightech SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 1m 36.474s
12 Albert Arenas SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 1m 36.537s
13 Aron Canet SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) 1m 36.686s
14 Bo Bendsneyder NED Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 1m 36.726s
15 Lukas Tulovic GER Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 1m 36.794s
16 Ai Ogura JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 1m 36.998s
17 Joe Roberts USA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 37.005s
18 Sergio Garcia SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) 1m 37.060s
19 Sean Dylan Kelly USA American Racing (Kalex) 1m 36.726s
20 Jeremy Alcoba SPA QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 1m 36.836s
21 Marcos Ramirez SPA Forward Team (Forward) 1m 36.959s
22 Zonta Vd Goorbergh NED Fieten Olie Racing GP (Kalex) 1m 36.966s
23 Dennis Foggia ITA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 37.123s
24 Senna Agius AUS Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 1m 37.134s
25 Lorenzo Dalla Porta ITA Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 1m 37.426s
26 Rory Skinner GBR American Racing (Kalex) 1m 37.642s
27 Borja Gomez SPA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 1m 37.827s
28 Izan Guevara SPA Inde GASGAS Aspar M2 (Kalex) 1m 37.879s
29 Alex Escrig SPA Forward Team (Forward) 1m 38.500s

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

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