Alex starts Jerez weekend with great promise
After securing a sensational double podium last time out in Magny-Cours the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team once again demonstrated their competitiveness as they enjoyed a great start to the penultimate round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship on a glorious Friday at Jerez.
Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes were almost inseparable as only 0.001s split the teammates on the overall timesheets at the end of the day, with van der Mark finishing in third and Lowes fourth as both riders secured their places in SP2.
Alex immediately took a liking to the new track surface at Jerez, one of his favourite circuits, as he shot into second on the timesheets with a 1:41.637 on just his fifth lap in FP1. Battling at the top of the timesheets for the entire session, the 27-year-old British rider improved late on to a 1:40.890 to end the morning in second.
As the temperatures rose in the afternoon and confident with his one-lap pace, Lowes decided to focus on race pace in FP2. The 2013 British Superbike Champion ran a 21-lap race simulation, showing incredible consistency and collecting valuable data for his team in the hot conditions at Jerez, setting a best time of 1:41.244 in the session.
Alex ended the day in fourth overall with his time from FP1, just one-thousandths of a second behind his teammate, and just 0.002s off the rider in second.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team will return to action on Saturday at the Circuito de Jerez at 8.45 am local time for FP3, with qualifying starting at 10:30 am and the 20-lap Race 1 at 13:00 pm.
“I felt quite good today! I was a little concerned before about how the bike would react to the new surface here at Jerez but the R1 is working really well. There are still a couple of things I want to improve for tomorrow but I would say it has been a really successful first day and I am looking forward to qualifying and Race 1 tomorrow. We do so many laps at Jerez during the winter that if they change one thing about the track, we notice it straight away. I think the changes have been positive and they did a fantastic job, it wasn’t that bumpy before, but now it is great, which is always really nice. We just need to make a few small changes and we will be ready for tomorrow. I think the key for fighting at the front tomorrow could be down to consistency. Today the tyres dropped off quite a lot on the new surface, but that should change as the weekend goes on and the track will get better and better. Today I felt good, we will try and improve the bike a bit overnight and hopefully tomorrow I can fight at the front!”