Alex pulls out all the stops to take 5th in wet Race 1 at Magny Cours
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team secured positive results after putting in maximum effort in tricky conditions on Saturday at Magny-Cours, round 11 of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. Alex Lowes rode to a solid fifth-place finish in a wet Race 1, enjoying some superb battles along the way on a difficult drying track.
Alex finished Friday’s dry practice in ninth overall, but only two-tenths off his teammate in second in one of the closest opening days of the season. On Saturday morning, the rain poured down in Magny-Cours but Alex used FP3 to find a good wet setup with his R1 and in SP2, in typical style, he pulled out a great lap to qualify in fifth for Race 1. The rain had stopped and the sun came out just before the race, although everyone stuck with wet tyres, but when the lights went out he did not have the best of starts and was in seventh and behind his teammate van der Mark by the first corner. Responding brilliantly, the 27-year-old enjoyed a great battle in the early laps with his teammate, passing him at Turn 5 on the second lap and not looking back. Next up was Leandro Mercado and then Chaz Davies as Lowes continued his charge through the field and made his way up to third by lap 6.
The damp track made conditions extremely tricky and Alex battled hard, with first, Marco Melandri and then Leon Camier, before settling into fifth. Determined to secure a good result after a tricky weekend in Portimao, the British rider rode consistently well to bring his R1 home in a rather lonely fifth to secure 11 vital championship points, which means he remains fifth in the standings with 180 points. Alex will start Sunday’s Race 2 from the middle of the front row in second position and with the forecast saying it should be dry, he is hoping to be able to fight for his third podium of 2017.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team are in action at 9:30 am local time in Magny-Cours on Sunday for Warm Up, with the 21-lap Race 2 scheduled for 1 pm.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 5th +41.210
“The race was a strange one! It was getting drier and drier as the race went on, which made it very tricky. I have always struggled here at Magny-Cours in the wet, so I am pretty happy to have finished in fifth. I had a good battle with my teammate and a few riders at the start, but then it became quite a lonely race towards the end. That can actually be harder than battling in a group in the wet, so I just focused on being as consistent as possible. I hope the sun comes out for tomorrow’s race but whatever happens, I will be ready to give it everything from the front row!”