British rider back in the victory hunt, chasing Rea and van der Mark all the way in Race 2!
The 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship may have been decided at Magny-Cours but the race for third overall intensified at the Pirelli French Round. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) continued to stake his claim with a fine third place in Race 2, challenging team-mate Michael van der Mark and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) for victory throughout.
The day started with a strong recovery to finish sixth in the Tissot Superpole Race, despite a difficult start from the third row of the grid. This provided the springboard for the 29-year old to challenge for the podium, although he was fortunate to avoid delay when Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) and Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing - Ducati) crashed in front of him on Lap 2.
After chasing down the leading duo, hopes were raised of a second career WorldSBK victory but the Briton ultimately settled for third. Lowes admitted he didn’t quite have enough in the closing stages but given the way the weekend started, he was pleased with the outcome.
Speaking after Race 2, he said: “We didn’t get so many laps in the dry so in the first race, I struggled a lot, but for the Superpole race this morning, I felt quite strong on the bike. I just had a bad start, was ninth on the first lap and it was hard to come through to sixth place. In Race 2, we made a small change to the bike and I felt really strong. I was able to catch Jonathan and Michael but I just ran out of grip a little bit. I’m really happy to finish the weekend in that way. It gives me a lot of confidence going to Argentina”.
After dropping behind Toprak Razgatlioglu after the Tissot Superpole Race, Lowes has regained third spot in the championship standings, three points ahead of the Turkish rider with Michael van der Mark six points further back and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) not out of the equation either.
With the Motul Argentinean Round next up at the Circuito San Juan Villicum, Lowes is expecting plenty more twists and turns in the battle for third overall but says he is ready for the fight over the remaining six races, starting in Argentina.
“I like it there”, he added. “Obviously last year was the first time we went there so I’m looking forward to going back for the second year. It’s going to be lots of fun! Obviously, we have the battle for third in the championship which is my target and it looks like it’s going to go all the way down to the last race!”
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