Seventh place in Aragon race 1 for Alex Lowes
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team fought valiantly during a two-part Race 1 at Aragon on Saturday at Round 3 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship. Alex Lowes qualified strongly in fifth on the grid and enjoyed two electric starts, taking the lead in the restarted race and battling at the front before experiencing a slight issue that saw him dropping back through the field. The 27-year-old recovered superbly to fight back and finish in a battling seventh place.
Alex showed good progress on the opening day, ending Friday’s practice in sixth overall by incredibly setting exactly the same time as his teammate (1:51.347). Trying a few setup tweaks in FP4, he ended the session in P4 with a 1:51.510. Feeling confident heading into SP2, the British rider improved to an excellent 1:49.853 to start Race 1 from fifth on the grid, just 0.010s quicker than his teammate as, once again, they were almost inseparable. He enjoyed a superb start in the original Race 1, flying up to second by the first corner and battling for the lead with Jonathan Rea before the red flag came out.
In the restarted race, it was a case of déjà vu as once again he got a sensational start and was once again battling at the front with Rea. Taking the lead on lap 2 he looked as if he would battle for the victory but, unfortunately, he started to suffer with a chatter issue on his Pata Yamaha R1 that saw him drop down to seventh by lap 6.
Showing excellent composure, he worked out a way to ride around the problem and battled back to sixth, before just losing out to Tom Sykes on the final lap and crossing the line in hard-fought seventh place to collect nine points. This sees the 2013 British Superbike Champion maintain fifth in the championship standings with 57 points and he will be working hard with his team overnight to solve the issue with his bike to allow him to fight for his second podium of 2018 – after storming to third in Buriram – from fourth on the grid in Sunday’s Race 2.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team return to action on Sunday morning for Warm Up at 9:35 am local time (CEST) in Aragon, with Race 2 due to kick off at 1 pm. Check out the full Race 1 results.
“My starts and the opening laps have been something I have struggled with so far this year. Today I got two go’s at them and I did them both quite well, unfortunately, that is where the positivity ends because the race was quite tough. I don’t really know why, but after the first few laps, I started to struggle with chatter on corner entry that was catching me out quite a lot and didn’t allow me to ride the bike the way I wanted. I went into damage limitation mode from there on in, tried to be as consistent as could, focused on not making mistakes, and tried to get the bike to the end. It was a tough race but it was the best I could do so we will have a look with the guys and try again tomorrow. In general, I am really strong at the end of the races, today I was strong at the start, so let’s try to improve the problem I had today and fill the bit in-between! If we can do that, we shouldn’t be too far away from the top guys tomorrow!”