Alex heads up Portimao second row in 4th spot
A ‘rollercoaster’ Saturday at the Portimao Circuit saw Alex Lowes overcome a challenging morning to claim a spectacular fourth in the afternoon’s World Superbike Superpole.
Alex’s positive start to the Portuguese event – sitting third in Friday morning’s first practice – took a difficult turn as the weekend developed with the British racer struggling with set-up on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R. Saturday morning saw him fail to qualify immediately for the top-10, concluding the final timed free practice in 13th, with similar frustrations in FP4.
Regrouping for the opening Superpole, Alex’s determination was evident, a 1’42.499 saw him top the session and secure his promotion into Superpole 2. He continued his consistent pace before heading back-out on the Pirelli qualifier – and his 1’42.198 lap was enough to take fourth in the times and will see him lead the second row for tomorrow’s race grid.
Ducati’s Davide Giugliano proved his Imola return was far from a one-off, claiming the pole position with a 1’41.764 under the powerful Portuguese sun.
Sunday’s two races see Alex and teammate Randy de Puniet on track at 10:30BST and 13:10 respectively for 20 laps of the rollercoaster Autodromo International do Algarve.
“We had a difficult day until qualifying! We had a few issues this morning and I was really struggling for confidence but we got our heads down in Superpole, made some changes, got a bit of confidence back and did a good job to be fourth. We need to keep improving for tomorrow – it’s going to be two hard races – and we still need to be realistic and hopefully we can do a solid job. Two top-sixes is the aim for me, and if I can keep riding well, keep consistent, then we should be alright. Thanks to the lads over the difficult weekend, it sounds like a broken record but yet again we dug deep, tried to keep plugging-away and got a bit of a reward in qualifying, but obviously it’s tomorrow that counts in the races!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“A strange weekend so-far in that we started quite strongly, especially with Alex, and then suffered a number of issues which really hurt the overall performance of the bike – ending up with Alex’s 13th position in pre-qualifying. To jump from the rhythm of mid-44’s to make a high ‘42’s on the race tyre and near-enough a ‘42 flat on the qualifier was an incredible job by him but also respect to PJ, Davide and Alex’s crew for not overreacting to the problems and concentrating on improving the priorities. We haven’t had the pace of the front guys all weekend until qualifying so the race will certainly hold some challenges, but the grid position will help a huge amount and if we can improve further tomorrow morning let’s see what race day can bring.”
Source: Suzuki Racing