Alex Leads the Way for Yamaha in Challenging Race 1 at Laguna Seca
It was Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider, Alex Lowes, who led the way for Yamaha today at Laguna Seca, with the 28-year-old Briton qualifying eighth in Superpole this morning before improving to finish fifth in this afternoon’s 25-lap WorldSBK Race 1.
Alex was the only one of the five Yamaha riders to enjoy a trouble free Superpole session, although the Pata Yamaha rider was disappointed to qualify only eighth and to miss out on a place on the front two rows of the grid for Race 1 this afternoon. Superpole was red flagged after just five minutes when Baz crashed at the Corkscrew and damaged the air fence. The stoppage allowed his bike to be recovered and the Ten Kate mechanics managed to get the bike rebuilt before the end of the session, with Baz managing one fast lap in the final five minutes to secure ninth position on the grid.
It proved a challenging Race 1 for Alex, who got a good start from the third row of the grid to slot into sixth place. As the field spread out in the closing stages the Pata Yamaha rider managed to catch Jordi Torres ahead of him, passing the Kawasaki rider for fifth place at turn seven and then holding the position to the chequered flag. The result means that Alex closed the gap to his teammate van der Mark in the championship, with just 12 points now separating the Briton from third place in the standings.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P5 – Championship Position – P4 – 203 Points
“It was a tough race today and although I finished top five, it’s frustrating to finish with such a big gap to the winner. I didn’t really have the pace that I expected to be honest. I had a good battle with Jordi Torres, who was riding a good race, but he struggled for grip a bit at the end and I managed to pass him for fifth. It’s proving a tough track for the Yamahas and we’ve not been as competitive at Laguna as we have been elsewhere this season. In the race I knew I had to get a good start and then try maximising what I had. I learned quite a bit in the race, especially in which areas we need to improve the R1 here. Now we know that, it gives us something to work on to be stronger tomorrow.”