DNF for Alex in Qatar race 1
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team suffered from a double dose of misfortune under the floodlights in Qatar on Friday, as both riders crashed out of Race 1 after having shown real promise throughout the weekend. Alex Lowes recorded his second consecutive front-row start and started Race 1 from P2 on the grid. During the race, he was involved in an excellent battle for the second position before he crashed at Turn 16. He managed to rejoin but, due to damage sustained in the original accident, crashed again with two laps to go bringing a premature end to his race.
Alex had been in sensational form on Thursday at the Losail International Circuit, with the 27-year-old British rider finishing practice in second overall on the timesheets, just 0.0.259s off the top. In FP3 he showed blistering pace to lead for most of the session, staying out for the entire time on the same set of tyres before finishing in third. He and his team made another step in SP2, with the 2013 British Superbike Champion setting a 1:56.675 to start his second consecutive race from the front row in P2.
When the lights went out, he was immediately involved in the battle at the front, passing Tom Sykes to move into second and then becoming embroiled in a brilliant three-way scrap for second with Xavi Forés and Chaz Davies, as he looked to record his fourth podium of the season. Passing Forés for third on lap ten, he set his sights on Davies ahead of him, closing the gap dramatically before losing the front at Turn 16 on lap 11. Unfazed, Alex immediately remounted his Pata Yamaha R1 but rejoined the race in dead last.
Riding at the winner’s pace, he quickly made his way up to 13th position before, with just two laps to go, he crashed again, this time at Turn 6 due to factors connected with the first accident. Lowes luckily escaped both crashes unscathed and will start Saturday’s Race 2 from the head of the head of the fourth row in tenth position, and remains fifth in the overall championship standings with 226 points.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team will take the positives from Friday in Qatar and are determined to bounce back in Race 2 at the Losail International Circuit which is scheduled for 21:00 pm local time on Saturday.
“Obviously, I am gutted about what happened in the race. We have been really strong all this weekend, I was second overall after Thursday’s practice and we made another step today for SP2 to make it two consecutive front row starts. I was feeling really confident that I could battle for the podium during the race. I had a good start from the middle of the front row on the grid and, honestly, felt really good during the race, battling with the guys for second. I gave it everything to catch and pass Chaz but I just pushed a bit too hard and lost the front at Turn 16. Of course, I wasn’t going to give up and managed to re-join and fight my way back before somehow my glove got caught on the damaged brake lever and I crashed again. It was a disappointing end to a really encouraging day but I will bounce back in Race 2 tomorrow and give it everything to finish the season with a strong result!”