LOWES’ BREAKTHROUGH ‘THE BEST RACE I’VE EVER RIDDEN’
Yamaha man grabs first non Kawasaki or Ducati podium of 2017
“The best race I’ve ever ridden,” that was the way Alex Lowes summed up his brilliant home round podium in race one after fighting his way back from dead last on the opening lap.
The PATA Yamaha rider was victim of an aggressive lunge from Leon Haslam who dived up the inside at turn one, pushing Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty wide and into Lowes who subsequently ran off the track.
Re-joining the field last, Lowes picked his way through the pack until he found himself scrapping with Aruba Ducati’s Marco Melandri for fourth place. However, a crash for Jonathan Rea on lap 18 meant the duo were elevated to third and fourth and a mistake by Melandri at the final corner saw Lowes snatch third and repeat his 2014 home podium success.
“We got a bit lucky on the last lap, but even before then, my pace was really strong,” said Lowes, who became the first non-kawasaki or Ducati rider so far to stand on the podium in the 2017 season. “I did 1m 28s the whole race and apart from the incident at the start I felt really good. We know there’s a gap to the Kawasakis and Ducatis, but what I’ve done all year is do the best I can.”
Lowes couldn’t have been more ecstatic if he had actually won and his the fight through the pack proves his revised approach for 2017– which has seen him focus on settling for results rather than pushing on regardless and making mistakes – is paying off.
“I was right at the back, but I told myself to keep focused and calm and pass people when I could. In the past, I think I’d have got a bit annoyed and made a mistake, but I thought if I kept going and dug in I might get a bit of fortune and on the last lap we did.
“To be honest, I think it was one of the best races I’ve ridden in my life. I’ve always been quite fast, but this year I’m showing I can be consistent too. I guess I’m a bit older now!”
While Lowes was unable to repeat his podium success on Sunday, team- mate Michael van der Mark almost took the British-run PATA Yamaha squad to double delight after a valiant effort in the second race saw him only lose out on the podium to Chaz Davies in the final laps.
While he was gutted to miss out on the rostrum, van der Mark says he learned a lot behind the faster Ducati.
“We know where we need to improve now– in the slower corners, it is also where Chaz was stronger than me which unfortunately happened to be the last part of the track,” he said. “It is good for us to see we are strong in the faster areas and to see where we need to improve. We have a test at Misano this week, then hopefully we can make a step before the next race.”