Alex Lowes takes fourth in Donington Race 1
On a historic Saturday at Round 6 of the 2018 Motul FIM World Superbike Championship at Donington for Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team as Michael van der Mark as the flying Dutchman stormed to his maiden WorldSBK victory, local hero Alex Lowes added to their joy by finishing in fourth after a superb race.
After the torrential rain and high winds that had affected Friday at Donington Park, Saturday saw an upturn in the weather with no sight of rain and track temperatures rising to 30˚C for Race 1. The last time Yamaha had tasted victory in the WorldSBK Championship came in Race 2 at Portimao in 2011 at the penultimate round of the season, before Yamaha spent four seasons away from the class. Since their return in 2016 with the Pata Yamaha team, they have gone on to secure ten podiums although victory had managed to escape their grasp but all of that was about to change on Saturday at Donington Park.
Local hero Alex has shown great pace all weekend, ending Friday’s practice in fourth overall, before improving in FP4 to set a 1:28.097, which was good enough for third on the timesheets. The 27-year-old British rider loves racing in front of the British fans and he managed to find another 0.675s in SP2 to qualify in the middle of the second row ahead of his teammate. When the lights went out for Race 1, the 2013 British Superbike Champion got a blistering start, riding around the outside at Turn 1 to move up into third.
Duelling with his teammate on the opening lap, he did not quite have the same feeling with his Pata Yamaha R1 as van der Mark but bravely fought to try and stay with the leading trio. Sticking on his teammate’s back wheel, he rode superbly before, just over halfway through the race, it became obvious he was losing out on corner exit and maturely decided that it was not worth risking pushing over the limit to try and stay with the podium battle, bringing his R1 home in a strong fourth-place and securing 13 championship points.
Alex is now seventh in the overall standings with 105 points and will start Race 2 from pole position, confident that with a few small changes, he will be able to fight for victory.
After a simply amazing day for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team at Donington on Saturday, they are ready to do it all again on Sunday. The action kicks off at 9:45 am local time (GMT+1) with Warm Up, while the 23-lap Race 2 is due to start at 1:00 pm.
“First thing I would like to say is a massive congratulations to Michael, all the Pata Yamaha team, and all the sponsors because we have been working really hard with this project to try and get this first win and hopefully it is the first of many and I can be there soon. From my side, we have struggled a lot this weekend with the setting of the bike coming off the corners, so I knew before the race it was going to be tough. I hung in there as long as I could but, unfortunately, my feeling with the bike and my pace was not strong enough although it was still another solid race for me. At the last few rounds, I have been just missing ‘something’, the end of the race always used to be my strongest point and I would rely on that to come forward but at the minute we can’t do that so, we need to make some changes for tomorrow. I start from pole position tomorrow and I am really looking forward to it!”