Strong Start to 2019 Season for Alex Lowes at Jerez test
Alex Lowes got his 2019 WorldSBK campaign off to a flying start in the first test of the new season in Jerez this week. The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider finished the two-day test second on the timesheet, just 0.2s off the top spot, while Michael van der Mark declared himself happy with the progress made during the test, which he finished in seventh position.
A recently resurfaced Jerez track and cool conditions meant a cautious start to the test for Pata Yamaha’s Alex and Michael van der Mark, both of whom used the first day to confirm set up changes tested at the same circuit back in November. It was Alex who set the pace on the opening day, storming to the top of the timesheet with a lap time of 1’40.442.
With improved conditions for the second and final day of testing in Jerez, both Pata Yamaha riders switched their focus to evaluating a number of chassis upgrades, with positive results. Alex once again led the Yamaha charge, posting a time of 1’39.372 to end the day second fastest.
The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK and GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK teams now head to Portimão for two more days of testing on Sunday and Monday, after which the bikes will be packed and shipped to Australia for the opening round of the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship at the Phillip Island circuit.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P2 – 1’39.372
“It’s been a good two days here in Jerez. My best lap today was done on a qualifying tyre. I managed a 1’39.8 with the race tyre, so I found half a second on the qualifier, which is quite good because I think there’s not as much of a gap as there used to be. The bike felt good in qualifying trim and we did a good long run in race trim. The new track surface was quite hard on the tyres, especially the front, but it’s good to have this information now, ahead of the race. We tried a lot of things on the bike today, confirming some of the changes we made yesterday, which was positive given the change in track conditions. This afternoon we worked on the front of the bike and, at the start, we went a little bit in the wrong direction, but then came back and found some improvement, so a proper testing day. Now I’m looking forward to Portimão, where we’ll test what we’ve learnt here on a completely different track. Big thanks to the team and to Yamaha for the work they’ve done over the winter; it certainly looks to have paid off.”