Alex Lowes put in a solid performance in Sunday’s Race 2 at the Motul Italian Round to gather more good points in sixth place, meaning he left Imola still in fifth overall behind the leading Kawasaki and Ducati riders in the general standings.
Lowes’ Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team colleague Michael Van der Mark was ninth in Sunday’s Race 2 at the 4.936km Italian track and left Italy in seventh place in the championship.
The initial Race 2 was red-flagged after just one lap but in the restarted 18-lap race Lowes was determined to make an impact on his Yamaha YZF-R1. He ran in seventh early on and when Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) crashed out of the race he took over sixth place. Lowes then took advantage of an off track-excursion by Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) to move up to fifth, but in his effort to catch Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) in fourth he too ran off track on lap 5 at turn 13, rejoining behind his teammate Van der Mark in seventh.
The two Yamaha riders then enjoyed a great scrap for sixth, with Lowes making a move on lap 10 to re-take the position. The 26-year-old then pushed as hard as he could to catch the riders in front and opened up a gap between himself and his teammate. After a valiant effort, he crossed the line in sixth to pick up 10 championship points.
Lowes commented afterwards, “In general I’m quite happy with this result because the weekend’s been really tough. We have not had really strong pace from the first session so that was about all I could manage today. I did the best I could with what I had and the team have worked really hard this weekend, but I have not quite had the feeling I need to be as confident and push as hard as I need to. It was a difficult race. I enjoyed it at the end because there was a little bit of battling and I managed to pull away from the group. In general I am happy and I am looking forward to my home race at Donington.”
His teammate van der Mark started from fourth on the grid but dropped down the order on the first corner, was overtaken by Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) as the race progressed and then lost out on eighth place to Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) by two tenths of a second across the finish line.
“We struggled quite a lot during the race,” stated Van der Mark on Race 2. “I thought we had made a big step forward in Warm Up, but in the race, it didn’t really work out. It was a tough race and it was difficult to be consistent. We knew that it would be difficult, but I was hoping we had made a big step forward. We must be happy with the points and up next is Donington, which will suit the bike better.”