Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes was always going to start his team-mate Michael van der Mark’s home round with an even harder fight than normal, but it is testimony to the tough ex-BSB champion’s competitiveness that it was he and not his equally fast team-mate who stepped up to win Superpole on Saturday morning.
His speed is not in question.
It all went horribly wrong later that afternoon as a potential problem with his main bike brought about a quick change to his spare, already parked in the back of the garage.
Maybe too quick a change, as the team put in the wrong tyre completely for the race and his first afternoon was reduced to a high-speed war of keeping it upright. Not his fault, but his suffering all the same.
Finishing 12th was a disaster, especially so soon after the first ever Superpole win of your career.
Race two, starting from the fourth row, was no easy task for him either, and he crashed from sixth place on lap 13, but got going again to finish 14th.
“It was a tough race, there is not a lot to say really,” admitted Lowes after another weekend got away from him and his team. This was especially true as VDM scored second and third places and hopped way ahead to fourth in the title, and 27 ahead on points.
“I crashed and got back on and that was it, the race was finished already. So it wasn’t the best day but the team had good results with Michael and I will look to bounce back with a strong weekend in Imola after the Brno test.”
That Brno test may have just as much significance for Lowes now as it did the very first time he sat on his R1 in readiness for the 2016 season.
His pace is unquestioned, but occasionally tough race performances appear to be the sticking point for Lowes at Yamaha still, at least in relation to their main rivals Kawasaki and Ducati. And of course, race results are the only things that really matter, even if a first Superpole win was a positive milestone in Lowes’ WorldSBK career.