Alex battles for the podium in Phillip Island race 2 thriller
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team put in an encouraging performance on Sunday at Phillip Island, the opening round of the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship, with both riders on podium pace in an enthralling Race 2.
Alex Lowes fought in the leading group throughout the incredibly entertaining 22-lap flag-to-flag race, before crossing the line in fifth, a mere 2.474s behind the race winner.
After a number of riders suffered from tyre degradation issues in Race 1, Sunday’s Race 2 was changed to a flag-to-flag format, with riders allowed to do a maximum of 12 laps on one rear tyre before they would have to make a mandatory pit stop.
Alex had finished Race 1 in a battling sixth and therefore he lined up in third on the grid for Sunday’s race. When the lights went out, the 27-year-old British rider did not have the best of starts and dropped down to ninth in the opening laps but just like in Race 1, he maturely waited for the feeling with his Pata Yamaha R1 to come to him, and as the race progressed he started to charge through the field.
On lap five he was the quickest man on track and was chasing down the podium battle as he made his way up into eighth before the mandatory pit stops. Timing his pit stop to perfection, Alex emerged as one of the big winners from the chaos and was fighting in the leading group.
Once again he was involved in an excellent battle with his teammate – following on from their superb duel during Race 1 – and after passing van der Mark, Alex rode hard in an attempt to close down the leaders towards the end of the race before crossing the line in fifth, just 2.474s behind the eventual race winner.
This result sees Alex claim 11 championship points to add to the ten he picked up on Saturday, meaning he leaves Phillip Island fifth in the overall standings with 21 points.
After an encouraging opening race weekend of the season, the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team now move onto Round 2 of the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship at the Chang International circuit in Thailand on the 23rd-25th March. Check out the full Race 2 results.
Alex Lowes – Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 5th +2.474s
“The second race was a lot better! Honestly, the bike was the best it had felt all week, which is promising to see how much progress we can make on a race weekend. After the pit stops, I felt really strong and thought I could challenge for the podium but I just had a couple of issues holding me back a little bit, which is unfortunate but that is racing. I felt really strong on the bike and I enjoyed the close nature of the racing. The pit stops did not make it easy but to get through the first round after struggling to feel comfortable during what has actually been quite a tough week for me, these results are not the end of the world. I am reasonably happy but I can’ t be completely satisfied with fifth and sixth-place finishes as I want to be fighting for podiums and winning races, which is what we will try and do in Thailand.”