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MotoGP Qatar: Lowes ‘happy to be competitive, disappointed to lose pole’

Sam Lowes celebrated his fifth front row start at Qatar on Saturday having qualified third alongside Elf Marc VDS teammate Tony Arbolino for Sunday’s inaugural race.

The Brit came close to celebrating his fourth Doha pole however, until track limits caught the 31-year-old out at turn 15, deleting his 1’58.905 effort and placing him on the opposite end of the commanding trio.

A difficult start to the 2022 Moto2 World Championship season saw Lowes struggle with tendonitis in his left wrist, forcing the Brit to sit out of a majority of preseason track time and endure a frustrating and painful Friday at Lusail.


Improvements in his physical condition overnight allowed him to come out fighting in Saturday’s  FP3, setting the fastest time of the session before heading into qualifying with a renewed confidence.

Trading pole position with his teammate repeatedly as the final 15 minutes played out, Lowes looked to have command of the grid for the new season’s opening 20-lap contest before track limits deleted the time after the flag. His second-best effort maintaining his presence on the front row alongside Arbolino for a double team attack come Sunday as Celestino Vietti celebrated his maiden Moto2 pole for the VR46 outfit.

“All yesterday I didn’t feel so good,” Lowes admitted on his wrist’s condition. “Two weeks ago I was struggling a lot with my body. The team has done such a great job this winter because it’s not gone smoothly. So, I’m really happy to be competitive again in the first qualifying of the year to give the team something back.

"I didn’t expect that but when I lost the pole position after the flag it was also a strange feeling! It’s a little disappointing in some ways. Anyway, I’m really positive with the step from yesterday to today. My hand is getting better but I don’t want to make any predictions.

"If someone told me on Thursday, I’d have a front row start and the chance of a top six finish, I’d have signed.

“Tomorrow depends on the wind. If the wind is strong, it will be closer. If it’s not, there are four or five guys that pull away. I honestly believe I have the pace so let’s get a good sleep and have a good first race.”

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