Alex Lowes returned to the podium in Race 1 at Phillip Island but lost time during the pit stops
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) returned to the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship rostrum in Race 1 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as he took third place in a thrilling and unpredictable battle during the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. In a flag-to-flag race, Lowes led in the early stages as he looked to take his first victory since 2020 but a later pitstop than his rivals meant he dropped down the order in terms of the lead group, battling back to take third place.
Lowes started the race from third place and stayed with the lead group, featuring himself, teammate Jonathan Rea, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), leading the race for five laps as he went in search of his first podium since the Tissot Superpole Race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this year and his first win since Race 2 at Phillip Island in 2020, on WorldSBK’s last visit to the iconic circuit
The timing of the pit stops would prove to be crucial in the race and Lowes stopped later than all of his rivals, with Rea and Razgatlioglu pitting on Lap 10, Bautista on Lap 11 and Lowes on Lap 12. Although there was just a two-lap difference between when the two KRT teammates pitted, it proved decisive in the outcome of the race as Rea claimed victory while Lowes finished third. After the pit stops, Lowes was behind Bautista but an incredible move around the outside of Bautista through Turn 9, Lukey Heights, moved him into the podium positions.
Explaining the race from his point of view, Lowes said: “I didn’t expect it to dry as fast as it did. The race at the start, when I went off the start, it was a lot drier. The warm up lap was a lot drier than when we went to the grid. I need to be careful so I was trying to be smooth on the wet tyres, then I realised there was a dry line appearing so I tried to use the wet tyre a lot because I knew, at some point, we had to make a pit stop. I probably pitted one or two laps too late but when I got out on the dry tyres, I felt good straight away. In general, I’m happy. I think I have a good chance tomorrow whatever the conditions are. Really happy for the team and Jonathan getting back on the top step of the podium, me back on the podium.”
Lowes ended a 55-day wait to stand on the WorldSBK podium with his last coming on WorldSBK’s visit to Barcelona in the Superpole Race of the Catalunya Round as he looks to secure fifth in the Championship ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK). Lowes finished ahead of Locatelli in Race 1 and, with two races left in the season, the gap between the pair stands at eight points.
Lowes was leading when the other riders in the lead group pitted. He spoke about whether leading the race was a disadvantage, saying: “I don’t know. In this situation, it’s always easy to look back and say you should do this or that. I have to be happy with the decision we made. When you’re behind, it’s easier just to follow the guy in front and make the same decision as them. I didn’t have this possibility; I only had the information I had. Maybe it’s a bit more difficult to be the first guy on track but I was enjoying being at the front.”
Can Lowes go one step further on Sunday in Australia? Watch the Tissot Superpole Race and Race 2 using the WorldSBK VideoPass!