ALEX LOWES WINS SUZUKA 8-HOUR
WSB stars Lowes and Van der Mark remind the world of their true pace with emphatic 8-Hour victory
The Yamaha World Superbike pairing of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark say they’ve shown exactly what they are capable of by taking a stunning win at the Suzuka 8-Hour race alongside Japanese Superbike champion Katsuyuki Nakasuga on the factory-run R1 machine in Sunday’s race.
The favourites did not put a foot wrong and made the win look relatively easy, finishing a lap clear at the chequered flag. Lowes also set a new lap record for the four-mile track as the team dominated.
Completing the whole eight hours of the race without a single problem while their rivals struggled with crashes and technical failures is a trait that has become a hallmark of the Yamaha squad as they’ve clocked up three consecutive wins at the race with Nakasuga, Pol Espargaró, Bradley Smith, Lowes and now van der Mark.
Speaking after securing his second Suzuka win in a row (from only three attempts), Lowes said: “It wasn’t easy, but we knew we had very good pace, even compared to last year. Honda were strong at the start of the race, but we looked smoother and they made a mistake – and from then on we were in control. We had a big gap, and we had to just be solid and look after the bike. But sometimes it’s harder to do that than to really go for it.
“I felt really good on the bike, the others felt really good on the bike, and we did a great job. We had a great atmosphere in the team, and I think it showed on track how well we worked together.
“Conditions were cooler, so it was a little bit easier and there was a little bit more grip, but it was the same for everyone and we were a second quicker than them. I’m happy with how I’m riding, and it’s good for me to prove that when the bike is working well I can do a good job, and now we need to do a good job in World Superbikes, too.”
But after a tough start to the 2017 season for the pair, van der Mark admitted afterwards that they were out to prove a point at Suzuka. The pair feel they can compete with the very best when the bike is right – and it certainly was at Suzuka!
“I think Alex and I have shown that if the bike is really competitive then we can be really strong as well and achieve great things. We have to improve the bike for the WSB series now, but I’m pretty sure that that will happen now after this weekend!”
‘Honda were strong at the start but we were smoother’