Arbolino eyes Moto2 title, Pirelli ‘will change the dynamics of races’

Runner-up to Pedro Acosta last year, Tony Arbolino has his sights set firmly on joining Tito Rabat, Franco Morbidelli and Alex Marquez as a Marc VDS Moto2 champion in 2024.
Tony Arbolino and Filip Salac at 2024 Marc VDS Moto2 launch
Tony Arbolino and Filip Salac at 2024 Marc VDS Moto2 launch

The Italian and new team-mate Filip Salac presented the latest version of the familiar Marc VDS livery during a Monday evening team launch at Belgium’s Château de Modave, which also featured the new WorldSBK project with Sam Lowes.

Arbolino put together six podiums, including two wins, from the opening seven rounds of last season to hold the early title lead. But he only made two more rostrum appearances, including a third win at Phillip Island, and was helpless to prevent an early Acosta title celebration.

“I’m super happy to be getting ready for my third year in this amazing family,” Arbolino said of 2024. “I appreciate so much the opportunity that Marc has given me and I share his commitment to winning. The support I get to help me perform on track is incredible and it always gives me a great boost in every single race.

“My only focus is on giving them back a big present in 2024 and that is to be fighting for the title from the first to the last race. I’ve already had some big chats with my crew and we know where we can improve to be stronger this year.”

A major technical change for 2024 is the debut of Pirelli tyres, replacing the Dunlop rubber used since the class was formed in 2010.

“It’s going to be an interesting year ahead with the change to Pirelli tyres and I think that is going to change the dynamics of races quite a lot,” Arbolino said. “This will require a new approach but I’m ready for this new challenge and ready to bring the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team back to the top again in Moto2.

“It’s great to have Filip with me as well and I hope he can show his talent and can push me a lot because that is also good motivation when you have a fast and competitive team-mate.

“The goal is to be fast and consistent for the whole season and to fight for the win every weekend. We have the weapons to do it, so it will come down to hard work and being as best prepared as we can be to get the job done.”

Salac, who has taken a podium in each of his previous Moto2 campaigns with Gresini, takes over the Kalex seat vacated by Lowes. The Czech rider will work with experienced crew chief Gilles Bigot.

“It is an honour to be asked to ride for this great team and it makes me feel very proud to have reached a part of my career where a project of this stature trusts me to come in and be successful,” Salac said.

“The livery is so famous in the paddock, and I feel privileged to be wearing it in 2024.

“I’m very grateful to Marc and everyone connected to the squad for helping me on this new journey in my career. I wanted the opportunity to fight for the best results possible and the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team is the perfect place for me to accomplish my goals.

“I have a two-year contract which immediately takes a bit of pressure off and with time I’m sure I can grow into becoming the rider I know I can be. I feel this is a family team and they are all pushing in the same direction to fight for the victory and that helps the rider a lot.

“My goal is to be finishing inside the top five every weekend, fight for the podium and also win some races. And I want to work with Tony to win the Team Championship, which is also a very important target.

“I have a great relationship with Tony, and we know how much talent and speed he has. And I’m sure sharing the box with him will only help me improve.”

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