Yamaha in good shape to defend Suzuka title, says Lowes

Picture: Yamaha Racing

Britain’s Alex Lowes ended his three-day test for the Suzuka Eight-Hours in good shape and says the reigning factory Yamaha champions again have a fast and consistent bike with which to defend the title.

After he and Michael Van Der Mark finished their long runs with laptimes still in the late 2’08s, early 2’09s, Lowes says everything is positive with the missile-spec R1 while Kats Nakasuga is working on setup fine tuning.

“Overall it was really positive. Our feeling with the bike is quite good. The first day was a bit difficult because we came straight from America, but it’s been a good test. We finished with a race stint simulation and it felt quite good,” said Lowes.

“Our lap times were really consistent. I think my last lap was in the 2’08s and our average time was around 2’09.1. Of course Michael and Nakasuga-san both did good jobs. Looking toward the race, the atmosphere in the team is good; generally, everything is good. I’ll go home for one week, rest, relax and focus on the race.”

The team were concerned they might have to make some alterations to the R1 to suit Van Der Mark as he is taller than his team-mates, but the extra room created proved no problems and the Dutchman was in agreement with changes to settings that Yamaha believe should make the bike even better.

“I’m really happy with the test. To be honest we didn’t change a lot with the bike, which is good. And especially today we did a long run, and it’s good to confirm that the bike works for the three of us. We were really fast and consistent,” he said.

“Of course the race is different but it’s good that we all have a good feeling with the bike and there were no big problems. I’m happy to finish the test and looking forward to the race. For the 8 Hours it’s not only the bike setup but also teamwork that’s really important, and we already have a good atmosphere in the team. It’s nice; everybody is relaxed. Of course the race weekend there is a little bit more pressure, but I’m really looking forward to the race.”

Picture: Yamaha Racing
Picture: Yamaha Racing
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