Sam Lowes gets his Moto2 campaign off to a brilliant start after securing an unlikely podium in Qatar, while Tony Arbolino claimed fifth in his first race for the team. 

While Lowes is arguably the outright Moto2 title favourite when healthy, the Brit has been suffering from tendonitis in his left wrist during the last few weeks, making such a result somewhat unrealistic heading into the weekend. 

But after already securing pole position, which later became third due to a yellow flag infringement on his fastest lap, Lowes produced a heroic effort to battle with the likes of Augusto Fernandez, who had demonstrated the best race pace during FP, and Ai Ogura. 

"It’s been a difficult couple of weeks," said Lowes. "But we had a good qualifying yesterday and a podium today! The race was difficult. 

"There were a couple of guys that were stronger than me, but it was a nice battle even though I couldn’t ride how I wanted to ride. 

"So, to get some points on the board is good and to get the podium at the end is fantastic. 

"Overall, I have to be quite happy with the weekend. The team did a fantastic job because over the winter we didn’t really have anything to build on. 

"They’ve done brilliantly to give me a fantastic bike. I’m happy to get some points on the board and I look forward to Indonesia."

Looking like one of the riders who could take third spot instead of Lowes was team-mate Arbolino. 

The Italian claimed just one top five finish in his rookie year, thus making it somewhat of a surprise to see the Elf Marc VDS rider in contention for a podium despite securing a front row start too.

In fact, Arbolino stated a top five prior to the weekend would have been an afterthought: "It was a good race. I had good pace. I just hit a neutral in turn six and missed some flow there. Otherwise, I had an amazing feeling. 

"If you had offered me a top five finish this weekend before we came here, I’d have said to you, ‘Difficult!’ As at the test we weren’t so close. 

"But we are close in this moment. We need to fix two things, which are the final two small steps to make. 

"Honestly, I’m happy. I want to thank my crew who worked a lot. They are so motivated and this makes me happy. Let’s keep working. I believe we can do more. 

"For the moment we’ll keep pushing and keep believing that we can be on the podium soon."