Smith’s pain is Lowes’ gain for Bri­tish GP

Alex Lowes to ride for Mon­ster Tech3 Yamaha in place of in­jured Bradley Smith at Bri­tish GP

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week in MCN - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON MO­TOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

World Su­per­bike racer Alex Lowes will wild card at the Bri­tish Mo­togp this week­end Ð re­plac­ing the in­jured Bradley Smith for a two-race stint on­board the Mon­ster Yamaha Tech 3 ma­chine at both Sil­ver­stone and Misano.

The op­por­tu­nity has come just days af­ter Lowes tested the Yamaha M1 at Brno and as a re­sult of reg­u­lar rider Bradley Smith suf­fer­ing a sick­en­ing crash in prac­tice for the Oscher­leben 8-hour World En­durance race where he had been drafted in to help Yamaha se­cure the ti­tle.

Òob­vi­ously itõs not ideal cir­cum­stances for Bradley, but itõs a good thing for me,ó ex­plained Lowes. ÒI tried the bike last week, but it was only a hand­ful of laps, and itõs def­i­nitely straight in at the deep end this week­end. Iõll have to pinch my­self on Sun­day when IÕM sit­ting on the start­ing grid with Rossi, Lorenzo and Mar­quez.ó

Lowes was re­warded with the chance to test the M1 af­ter win­ning last mon­thõs Suzuka 8-Hour along­side Yamaha GP rider Pol Es­par­gar—. Tak­ing to the track at the very end of the ses­sion, Lowes man­aged to com­plete only 14 laps be­fore an un­for­tu­nate crash brought his test­ing to a halt. But de­spite the fall, he fin­ished the day only four sec­onds off the pace set by fastest man Jorge Lorenzo Ð and only a sec­ond and a half off the time set by Es­par­gar— him­self in the week­endõs first prac­tice ses­sion. His pace af­ter just 14 laps on­board the M1 im­pressed Yamaha bosses enough to en­sure he was the nat­u­ral re­place­ment for Smith.

ÒI feel like if I had rid­den all day I would have been quite fast. In 14 laps, thereõs only so much you can do, be­cause itõs not even one free prac­tice ses­sion. If I had been out in free prac­tice one with a bit more time, I would have been ok against some of the grid. I think when peo­ple try a Mo­togp bike for the first time, it al­ways takes a long time to get used to it Ð and Iõve done quite well!ó

And while he man­aged to be fast right off the mark, he con­ceded af­ter­wards that the amount of time on the bike sim­ply was­nõt enough to un­der­stand all the nu­ances of a ma­chine that is so fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent from his usual Pata Cres­cent Yamaha R1 WSB bike.

ÒIT was so nice to ride; the elec­tron­ics are good, the chas­sis is good; itõs re­ally nice,ó he said.

ÒITÕS what I ex­pected, and maybe even a lit­tle bet­ter. The power re­ally stood out - when you lift it up on a straight it just goes!ó

But even the crash was­nõt enough to dent the mark he left on the pad­dock with his times, with Lowes ad­mit­ting af­ter­wards to MCN that it demon­strated that he was will­ing to push and to prove him­self on the bike.

ÒIT was the last lap of the day, I was a lit­tle bit wide in turn three, and I moved the rear of the bike a lit­tle bit too much when I braked. Thereõs not a huge dif­fer­ence, but when you ap­ply them they jump a bit more com­pared to nor­mal brakes. That lifted the rear a bit, and I just closed the front.

ÒITÕS not nice to crash. But it was an in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity, and I had to try it on the bike. Whatõs the point in just go­ing out and rid­ing around?ó

Heõll have more of a chance to get time on the bike over the backto-back race week­ends - but the Lin­colnshire racer is keen to stress that he is­nõt ex­pect­ing im­me­di­ate suc­cess at Sil­ver­stone this week­end.

Òwhen the peo­ple in front of you on the grid are so far in front of you in terms of their knowl­edge of the bike and the tyres itõs im­pos­si­ble to know how youõll go. Itõs a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish to su­per­bike rac­ing, and weõve seen peo­ple mov­ing up in the past and tak­ing two or three days to get up to speed.

ÒI canõt be too am­bi­tious; IÕM go­ing to go there, en­joy it for what it is, and hope­fully learn some­thing that I can take back to World Su­per­bikes. I have no ex­pec­ta­tions Ð I just want to go have fun and en­joy the op­por­tu­nity for what it is.ó ■ Sam Lowes tests Aprilia Mo­togp ma­chine at Misano, p 75

‘I’m go­ing to go there, en­joy it for what it is, and hope­fully learn some­thing’ ALEX LOWES

Lowes re­united with 8-Hours team-mate Es­par­garó Next time Lowes rides the M1 it will be at Sil­ver­stone!

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