Second row start for Alex Lowes at Phillip Island
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes secured fifth place at the Philip Island Grand Prix Circuit today during the inaugural World Superbike Superpole of 2015.
Setting a 1’32.042 on race rubber on his first timed-lap, the British racer was denied the chance to compete on qualifying tyres due to a red flag and subsequent early termination of the session.
A steady start to the day had seen Alex improve on his positions finishing 8th and 4th respectively in the final free practices before a dramatic high-speed crash in the closing minutes of Saturday’s only non-timed session saw the Brit revert to his spare GSX-R1000 for the Superpole qualifying.
As the Australian sunshine scorched the asphalt to an ever-rising 58°C, Kawasaki rookie Jonathan Rea claimed the pole position from the red flag.
An evening of preparation awaits the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki squad at the Victoria circuit, ahead of the opening races of the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship season scheduled for 12:00hrs local time (01:00GMT) and 14:40hrs (03:40GMT) tomorrow.
“Not as easy today, but we’ve still ended up in a good grid position. I made a mistake in the warmer temperatures in FP4 and tucked the front at turn one and enjoyed a 200kph body-slide but I’m 100% ok, and have to say a big thanks to the guys at RST for making me such strong leathers – the bike wasn’t as lucky! The boys did a great job getting the spare bike set up for Superpole but it was the first time I’d ever ridden it and didn’t go as fast as I would have liked on the race tyres but needed to play my way back into it after the crash. The target for tonight is to see how we can improve the GSX-R for today’s hot conditions which have completely changed the character of the track. Thanks to all the team for doing a great job, whatever the conditions tomorrow I’ll be giving it everything and looking for two really good finishes.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The Australian summer has hit Phillip Island today and whilst the blue skies are great for the surf beaches, for us it’s created some challenges to achieve the same level of performance that the GSX-R was capable of when it was slightly cooler. The team will be looking at ways to give the bike back some of its front grip and to help the riders have a slightly easier job.
Alex made his first very small error in a long time, he never does it by halves and chose probably the fastest corner in motorcycle racing to do it, but we are just so glad that he is 100%, which is the most important thing. Considering the crash the qualifying position of fifth is fair and gives us a good chance to get involved with the front group tomorrow.”