Alex eleventh in Phillip Island Friday practice
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team launched their 2016 campaign with Alex Lowes completing Friday practice in 11th.
Sunshine and light showers provided mixed conditions for both hour-long free practice sessions – with WorldSBK’s new schedule now seeing Friday’s second practice times cement the 20 fastest riders’ automatic qualification into Saturday’s two Superpole sessions.
With less than a second separating the top 11 riders, Alex concluded his inaugural day on his YZF-R1 with a best lap of 1’31.825 but with the new schedule now in operation he will have to compete in the opening Superpole 1 to fight for his promotion to the top-12 shootout.
Continuing to fine-tune his riding style with his new Yamaha machine, the British racer has a number of settings changes – including his own positioning on the bike – for his crew to adjust overnight.
Saturday brings a shortened free practice – with timings not admissible for qualifying – before Superpole and the opening race of the 2016 season at 15:00hrs local time, but Lowes is confident his team’s hard work will be repaid for the 22-lap contest around one of his favourite tracks.
“I’m still finding my perfect set-up with the YZF-R1 so I wasn’t 100% comfortable out there today but the times are, as always, so close between the top riders. We have a few things we are working on overnight with the lads, and I love this circuit so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Historically I’ve done well in practice here but it hasn’t translated to the race so hopefully this year a careful dress rehearsal will give me a better race day when it matters!”
Source: Yamaha Racing