Alex shows fighting spirit to take sixth in Phillip Island race one

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The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team put in a spirited performance despite suffering from tyre degradation problems in Race 1 at the opening round of the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship, at an overcast and windy Phillip Island.

Alex Lowes started from the front of the second row and was involved in a number of superb duels during the race, battling hard despite a lack of grip towards the closing stages, before crossing the line in sixth position. One of the riders he fought with was his teammate Michael van der Mark, who had enjoyed a good start and was battling for the podium before he also suffered from severe tyre problems in the latter stages of the race, fighting to defend every position before finishing in ninth.

After missing crucial dry track time on Friday, Alex bounced back after making some changes to his setup and improved on Saturday morning to finish FP4 in fourth position. The 27-year-old British rider then put in a stunning final lap in SP2 to secure fourth on the grid for Race 1, setting a 1:30.767, despite a small crash earlier in the session at Turn 4.

Starting from the front of the second row, Lowes took it steady at the beginning of the race as he didn’t have the best feeling with his tyres, taking his time to work into a rhythm before starting to make his way back through the field from ninth. After passing a couple of riders, he closed the gap to his teammate in front and the two enjoyed an excellent scrap for sixth, overtaking each other a number of times before Lowes managed to make a move stick and attempted to hunt down the riders ahead.

Managing his tyres as best he could for the latter stages of the race, Lowes was closing the gap rapidly to Jonathan Rea in front of him when he just ran out of laps, crossing the line in sixth to secure ten championship points, with the result meaning Lowes will start Sunday’s Race 2 from the front row.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team return to action at the opening round of the WorldSBK Championship on Sunday at 10.30 am local time at Phillip Island for Warm Up, with Race 2 scheduled for 3 pm.

Due to the issues suffered by a number of riders during Saturday’s race, Race Direction has announced that if Sunday’s 22-lap Race 2 is declared dry, it will follow the flag-to-flag format, with enforced pit stops and riders not allowed to do more than 12 laps on one rear tyre. Check out the full Race 1 results.

Alex Lowes – Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 6th +17.028s
“It has been a tough week so far, as I’ve not really been 100% confident with the feeling so far. The race wasn’t easy. I didn’t get a very good start and I was trying my best to just stay with the group, as I realised early on I was having some difficulties with my tyres. I tried to really look after them as much as I could, to be able to come strong in the latter stages, but even with riding quite conservatively the tyres felt very bad at the end of the race. We managed to get sixth place and with the changes in place for Race 2, we will try and learn from today to see if we can do a better job in the race tomorrow!”