Frustrated Lowes ‘probably had pace for podium’ in Race 2

Monday, 25 February 2019 13:25 GMT

Lowes has finished in the top six at Phillip Island in his last seven races at the circuit, but a podium continues to elude him

Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) kick-started his 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship off in solid fashion at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, during the Yamaha Finance Australian Round. The British rider has a good record at Phillip Island and will be hoping that his top-five performances this weekend have proved a good base to build from throughout the year.

In Race 1, Lowes came agonisingly close to his first Phillip Island podium, finishing just 0.050s behind fellow Yamaha rider Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), who managed to muscle his way ahead of him on the final lap. Lowes consolidated his top five pace again in the Tissot Superpole Race, finishing fourth and just over 1.6s behind fellow Brit Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK. Race 2 saw Lowes finish fifth, 0.285s from teammate Michael van der Mark in a combative group of Yamahas, with Melandri finishing behind him.

Lowes said that early in Race 2, being stuck behind Eugene Laverty didn’t help him: "I lost quite a lot of time at the start behind Eugene Laverty; the Ducati is so fast in a straight line that I couldn't pass him cleanly, then I didn't want to panic and try and go too fast, as it's easy to wear out the tyres, as we saw in the sprint race.

“I just stayed calm and almost timed it right at the end. It's a bit frustrating because I felt that, looking at the times, I probably had the pace to challenge the Kawasakis for a podium but when you're three seconds behind at the end of the second lap then, round here, it's hard to make that time up. It's a shame, but I'll take fifth place and see if we can have a stronger round next time out in Thailand."

Lowes, one of 11 race winners on the WorldSBK grid, will look to mount the podium again at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, something he has achieved twice: third in Race 2 2015 and the same result in Race 2 last year.

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