Alex Lowes Leads The Way For Yamaha on Opening Day in Phillip Island
It was Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider Alex Lowes who ended the opening day of the 2019 Superbike World Championship season as the highest placed of the four Yamaha riders. The Briton’s time of 1’30.783 during today’s second free practice session securing him fifth place on the timesheet.
Both 50-minute practice sessions today were held in cool but dry conditions, with the wind making its presence felt around the southern part of the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit. Both Pata Yamaha riders used this morning’s first free practice to confirm the set up direction from the two day test earlier in the week, before running a race simulation to evaluate rear tyre endurance this afternoon.
Lowes and van der Mark managed to improve their lap times in the cooler conditions this afternoon, but both struggled with excessive tyre wear towards the end of their long runs. The two Pata Yamaha riders will work through the data with their respective crews this evening, to identify an alternative set up that puts less stress on the rear tyre around the particularly abrasive Phillip Island circuit.
The WorldSBK riders will be back on track for FP3 at 10.00 tomorrow, before heading into the new single 25-minute Superpole session at 12.15. Lights out for the first WorldSBK race of the 2019 season will be at 15.00.
“It’s not been such an easy day today. The race simulation was important this afternoon, because we know that rear tyre life is always critical here at Phillip Island. Unfortunately, I had a small problem with the bike during the long run but, anyway, after just 13 laps the rear tyre dropped off significantly. It’s a bit frustrating after we spent so much time working to find a set up to conserve the rear during testing here, but all we can do is sit down with the technical crew tonight and try to come up with a solution for the race tomorrow.”