Alex Lowes charges to sixth in Imola race 2
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Alex Lowes mounted a superb charge through the field in Race 2 at Imola on Sunday at Round 5 of the 2018 FIM Motul Superbike World Championship.
The British rider lined up 12th on the grid and when the lights went out immediately showed podium pace and was on a charge before he ran off track. Recovering and getting straight back into his rhythm to do it all again, Alex blazed his way to a sixth-place finish to mirror his teammate’s result from Race 1.
It was another glorious day at a hot and humid Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari with hardly a cloud in the sky and track temperatures reaching 48°C on Sunday afternoon for Race 2. It would turn out to be a case of déjà vu for the Pata Yamaha team as, for the second race in succession, one of their riders would storm his way through the field from 12th on the grid to cross the line sixth.
This time it was Alex who lined up on the fourth row of the grid after he brought his R1 home in tenth during Race 1. The 27-year-old wasted no time in getting down to business when the race started and had blasted his way up to eighth by the end of lap 2. He was demonstrating podium pace and had closed right up to the back wheel of Tom Sykes at the end of lap 3 when he made a small mistake and missed his braking marker into the Variante Alta chicane, running wide and dropping back down to 13th.
Undeterred, Alex immediately got his head down and resumed his charge. By lap 9, he was up to seventh place and had set his sights on the top six, while also riding as hard as he could to keep wildcard Leon Haslam, who was nipping at his heels, at bay. He battled all the way to the chequered flag, maintaining his consistent pace to cross the line in sixth and collect 10 points which, when added to the six he secured in Race 1, means he leaves Assen occupying seventh in the overall standings with 92 points, now just 21 points behind his teammate.
Up next is Lowes’, and the team’s, home round at Donington Park and the 2013 British Superbike Champion cannot wait to get back to racing at his local track, also one that traditionally suits the characteristics of the Pata Yamaha R1 more than the Imola layout.
After a weekend of mixed results but buoyed by the improvement shown at, traditionally, one of the toughest tracks for the R1, the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team head to their home round at Donington Park in the UK on the 25th-27th May full of confidence. Check out the Race 2 results from Imola.
“I am happy with P6 and my pace, especially considering where I started and the mistake on lap 3. Obviously, for whatever reason, yesterday the race was very difficult for me and I didn’t have the pace I had enjoyed in all the other sessions so, I was really frustrated but today was good. I felt really good early on and felt like I could go forward. I was a few places behind Michael but catching up quite quickly, but I got a little bit too deep at the chicane and made a mistake, so to get sixth with a runoff and after being 12th on the grid at a very difficult track to pass – I am quite happy. The guys did a good job with the bike, I am still not 100% comfortable on corner exit but I did my best in both races and sometimes that’s not as good as other weekends but I am looking forward to Donington now. A massive thank you to all the guys, especially Andrew and Christophe who, alongside Yamaha’s engineers, have worked so hard on the bike and the electronics. We just need to keep chipping away because there is a lot of potential.”