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MotoGP Mandalika: Lowes third despite crash, ‘best I've felt this season’

A strong opening showing throughout Friday at the all-new Mandalika International Street Circuit secured third for Sam Lowes on his Elf Marc VDS Moto2.

The tropical conditions on Lombok Island threw everything at the intermediate class on its debut at the 4.3km circuit, with FP1 running wet Dunlops until the final minutes. Lowes was the sole rider to venture out on slicks as the action concluded, ending the morning over one second faster than his rivals at the top of the times before returning to the front group for FP2.

Track temperatures of 52℃ matched with 65 per cent humidity made tough going for the afternoon’s 40 minutes of action. The 31-year old, however, felt comfortable enough to set about long runs on the harder option rear tyre after increased rehabilitation on his left arm since round one.


“It was a good day,” Lowes said from Indonesia. “I felt good, probably the best I've felt this season on the bike as we didn’t do much testing. Qatar I was struggling a lot more with my hand, today it feels good.”

A late slide on the soft option in the closing minutes failed to dent Lowes’ strong afternoon with the Brit ending the day third in the combined times, half a second adrift of countryman Jake Dixon out front.

“I’m happy with my pace with the hard rear tyre,” he explained further. “On the soft tyre I made a mistake at the end, running onto the dirty part of the track and losing the rear. Unfortunate little crash. I was a little bit wide and I knew it was a bit dirty off line and I tipped in, the front felt okay and I thought 'Maybe it's not too bad' and then I lost the rear!

"This is a bit of a lesson, but a good lesson for the weekend as it shows how close the limit is with these track conditions.

“It’s nice to learn a new track. I have good sensations here. I’m really impressed with the circuit. We need to improve the gearing and my feeling with the front and learn the track more by just putting in laps but overall, I’m happy with the first day and we’ll keep working tomorrow. We have to understand more the soft, if it will be the race tyre or not, but we will see tomorrow, see the weather and keep making a plan.”

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