Sam Lowes was back in the top five and aiming for a front row start on his Elf Marc VDS as 2023 Moto2 action commenced at Portimao on Friday.
With confidence high after two solid preseason tests at Jerez and the Algarve track, Lowes was immediately in the mix and running top six consistently across the opening day’s two 40-minute practice sessions.
Despite his ultimate 1’42.762 afternoon effort sitting the 32-year-old fifth overall after a six-tenth improvement on the morning run, Lowes is still targeting set up refinements for Saturday morning ahead of the all-important qualifying push.
“Today I didn’t feel as good as the test but my lap times were still very consistent, especially with the way I’m riding,” Lowes explained from Portimao. “We picked up where we left off. We know we need to improve in some areas, in others we did well. Sector 1 was my bad point during the test and I need to improve there, but I’m better than the test, a bit more consistent.
“I felt a bit worse with the rear - it was difficult to get it to dig in and make metres on the exit. We had too much spin and the bike was quite lively but we did make a small change from the test. The temperature will be slightly higher tomorrow than today so we’ll just go back to our setting from before and change the balance.
“It’s been a positive day. We didn’t do a good lap on new tyres but my pace on used rubber is really competitive. I’m reasonably happy, especially with the margin we have. We’ll try to qualify on the front row tomorrow and have a good race from there.”