Alex finishes on the podium with second place in Magny Cours race 2
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team delivered a stellar performance in Race 2 on Sunday at Magny Cours, round 11 of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. Alex Lowes followed up his superb ride to fifth in the wet Race 1, by charging to an incredible second-place finish to record his third podium of 2017. His teammate Michael van der Mark also put on a brilliant show of riding after an excellent fight with Lowes to secure third place and record the Pata Yamaha team’s first double podium in WorldSBK.
After Lowes’ brave ride to fifth in the treacherous wet Race 1 conditions, the 27-year-old lined up in the middle of the front row for Sunday’s Race 2. Drops of rain started to fall just before the race got underway but this had no effect on Lowes. When the lights went out he got the holeshot into Turn 1 and took the lead. Battling with his teammate at the front in the opening stages, Lowes managed to open a 0.4s gap and led the way until the fourth lap when Chaz Davies passed him, as the rain became heavier.
As Alex settled into a rhythm and began assessing the grip levels in the tricky conditions, he was passed by Leon Camier and dropped down to third, although this was to be short-lived as Camier was forced to retire on lap 10, with Lowes re-taking second place. By this point, his gap to Chaz Davies in the lead was over 5 seconds, but the 2013 British Superbike Champion set his sights on closing the gap, putting together an amazing run of seven consecutive laps in the low 1:39s or better, and with two laps to go he was less than three seconds behind the leader.
His late race pace was sensational but with the rain getting heavier and the grip levels dropping, he maturely realised that the race win was not on the cards and brought his Pata Yamaha R1 home in second, just 3.006s behind Davies. It was the third time Alex has stood on the podium in 2017, to add to his second-place finish at Misano and third at his home round in Donnington, and equalled his best WorldSBK result. The 20 points he secured means the British rider remains fifth in the championship standings but now has 200 points with two rounds remaining in the season.
This superb performance by the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team over a challenging weekend, with ever-changing track conditions, demonstrates the progress of the project since Yamaha’s return to the WorldSBK championship in 2016. They now head to round 12 of the 2017 FM Superbike World Championship in Jerez on the 20th-22nd of October full of confidence and ready to fight for more podiums. Check out the Race 2 results from Magny-Cours.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 2nd +3.006s
“Honestly, this weekend has been slightly strange with the different weather conditions yesterday and then today with just that little bit of rain and difficult grip levels. I think it is a perfect example of how well the Pata Yamaha Team are working because, although we are still looking to close the gap to Kawasaki and Ducati in terms of out-and-out performance, whenever there is a chance to take advantage of a ‘different’ situation, we have been there. It is a fantastic day for the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team! I am really happy to share the podium with Michael because, like I said, the team have been performing so well and I am looking forward to the rest of the season now! I try to do the best I can in every race and my goal is to try and challenge these guys every week, that is the target and what Yamaha employ me to do. I think if I take a step back, I can be quite happy overall with the season up to now, but as a rider, you always want more and there are some events where more could have been achieved. I still feel that there is still plenty more to come from myself and the R1 and we will keep working hard to improve!”