Alex delivers sensational comeback podium in Donington Race 1
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Teams Alex Lowes produced the ride of his season so far to secure his maiden podium for the team in race one at Donington Park, round six of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship.
The British rider put on a sensational comeback for the home fans after he was forced wide at the first corner, pulling off overtake after overtake to recover from 22nd place and cross the line in an incredible third.
Alex lives 10 minutes away from the Donington Park track and it was where he got his first taste of road racing, therefore it was fitting that it was the scene of his best ever rides. Starting from fourth, another rider made contact with him heading into the first corner, forcing Lowes wide and almost off the track.
The British rider was down in 22nd, right at the back of the field, but instead of letting the situation get the better of him, the 26-year-old got his head down and started picking off riders one by one.
On lap three he had made his way up to 18th, then he put the hammer down, lapping over a second quicker than the riders in front of him. His charge continued into the points having passed another three riders and Lowes was soon battling for the top ten.
With four laps to go he moved up to sixth, then one lap later he passed his teammate for fifth. A rider ahead of him crashed out, promoting him to fourth and the podium was on. When he crossed the line to start the last lap Marco Melandri was 1.2s ahead of him in third, but Alex somehow managed to bring this gap down to less than half a second in the first two sectors.
Then a mistake from Melandri left the door open and Lowes blasted past to claim his first ever podium for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team, crossing the line in third to top off a simply remarkable comeback and sending the home fans wild.
The 16 points Lowes collected now sees him fifth in the championship table with 110 points, closing the gap to Melandri in fourth to just 27 points, and he will start Sundays race two from seventh on the grid.
”It is always fantastic to race in front of the home fans, it is the only chance we get in the year so I wanted to do something special! I thought it had all gone wrong at the first corner as someone hit me from the inside and I nearly went off the track. I thought, Oh no! But I managed to stay calm, and stay focused. From then on it was one of the most enjoyable races I have ever had, because I was passing people for the whole 23 laps, so the race felt really short. The R1 was great, I enjoyed it a lot. We got a bit of good luck on the last lap when Marco Melandri made a mistake and we managed to get on the podium. It is nothing more than the team deserves, they work so hard and I am really happy to have been able to give something back to them. I expected to be the next fastest guy after the championship leaders, that is where I have been lately when I have a good feeling with the bike, I knew I could keep my pace until the end of the race. It is one of the strengths we have had all year, being strong at the end of the race, we have just been too far behind from the start. I thought that would be the case today, but obviously, it worked out better! I am looking forward to tomorrow and we will see what we can do in race two. We have all been riding this weekend in Nicky Haydens memory and I was actually hoping today, when I was sliding the rear so much after the tyres went off, that he would have approved.”