YAMAHA DOU­BLE UP AT SUZUKA

Alex Lowes hails Suzuka win as best mo­ment of his life

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - IN JA­PAN MOTGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

Alex Lowes and his Yamaha team­mates Pol Es­par­garó and Kat­suyuki Naka­suga se­cured a stun­ning vic­tory at the Suzuka 8 Hours at the week­end.

Lead­ing the pres­ti­gious en­durance race for the ma­jor­ity of the eight hours, the pre-race favourites and reign­ing cham­pi­ons looked al­most un­beat­able all week­end long, and were able to ride a com­pletely fault­less and con­trol­ling race on Sun­day.

The vic­tory couldn’t have come at a bet­ter time for Lowes, with the Pata Cres­cent Yamaha rider hav­ing a tough sea­son to date in World Su­per­bikes.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic feel­ing. We did a great job early in the race to get a gap, and then the sec­ond half of the race it was just re­ally im­por­tant to stay out of trou­ble and to look after the bike. I was a bit ner­vous in the last stint, be­cause it was a brand new ex­pe­ri­ence to me; rid­ing in the dark, you start hear­ing noises on the bike and ev­ery­thing!

“We had a gap, so I wasn’t push­ing - but then you have to be care­ful not to lose your con­cen­tra­tion as well! The end was amaz­ing – you do one more lap after the fi­nal lap, and I was stood on the bike sur­rounded by peo­ple. It was one of the best mo­ments of my life.”

It also showed how much ma­tu­rity the for­mer MCE Bri­tish Su­per­bike racer has de­vel­oped in re­cent years to move be­yond his rep­u­ta­tion as a fast but some­times wild racer. Tak­ing the pres­sure of the world’s most im­por­tant su­per­bike race in his stride in front of the Ja­panese firm’s top bosses, he barely put a foot wrong all week­end.

“It’s a dif­fer­ent feel­ing from nor­mal when you’re maybe not ex­pected to win but when you know you’ve got a chance to win. It adds a bit of pres­sure all week long, and it makes it even more en­joy­able.

“It’s such an im­por­tant race for Yamaha. I be­lieve in my­self and in my rid­ing, and ob­vi­ously I’ve had a bad year in World Su­per­bikes with injures and not many good re­sults, so it’s nice to come here and do a solid job. I made one mis­take in qual­i­fy­ing, but it hap­pens, and they’ve seen that I did a good job. Hope­fully that’ll carry over to World Su­per­bikes now and give us the lit­tle bit of help we need to get the next step there.”

And, while the fac­tory en­durance R1 is a long way re­moved from what he nor­mally rides in the World Su­per­bike cham­pi­onship, Lowes is also con­fi­dent that there will be lessons learned at Suzuka that he can take for­ward to ap­ply to the re­main­der of his sea­son.

“There are a few things I can take back with me, and be­cause you do so much rid­ing here you can im­prove that in gen­eral a bit too. Rid­ing the ex­act same bike with two com­pletely dif­fer­ent team-mates helps you to see what they’re do­ing bet­ter too and to learn from them, as well as show­ing you what you do bet­ter than them. I’ve learned a lot and I’m look­ing for­ward to get­ting back to World Su­per­bikes – once I take a few weeks to en­joy this!”

‘Rid­ing in the dark, you start hear­ing noises on the bike and ev­ery­thing!’

Big grins watch­ing the live tim­ing Es­par­garó brings a touch of Mo­togp class to Yamaha’s fac­tory Suzuka 8 Hours squad

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