In the fight behind completely dominant WorldSBK series leader Alvaro Bautista and completely dominant over second place Jonathan Rea, Alex Lowes has been ahead of his Pata Yamaha team-mate.
But things got shuffled around at Assen. Michael van der Mark beat him fair and square at his home round, but it is still Lowes who sits third overall in the championship chase.
Assen was a change in many ways as all the WorldSBK riders had to take part in two full-distance races on Sunday. And like almost everybody else, Lowes loved it.
“Today was quite good - a bit more of a challenge,” he told bikesportnews.com. “I think we should just do three long races. I felt quite good on the bike and in the second race I felt really strong until half race distance.
“Then I had some big problems with the front tyre and I could not go with Michael, unfortunately. To have a difficult weekend really with my feeling on the bike, and then qualify fourth, with two fourth place finishes, is fine. A solid weekend.”
It is testimony to the quiet but consistent improvement in Lowes’ race performances that two fourths feel fine, but a little flat with it. He expects more now.
“I said to Charlie Hiscott in the Eurosport interview, to be disappointed with two fourths means we have come a long way. But Michael was great in that race. When he passed me with eight laps to go, I could not stay with him.
In turns 11 and 12 he was so much faster than me. I was trying to catch back up in a couple of corners but the front was moving. I could not fight with him at this track, not in that race anyway.”
Lowes also got to scrap it out with his old mate from the UK, Leon Haslam in each race. “It was fun. In the first race I had some arm pump and he passed me,” said Lowes. “Then I could see he was struggling with his bike, I managed to pass him back then in the last lap, in the chicane he passed me and went wide.
“It is great when you are having a battle like that but it would be nicer if it was for a podium or first position. The bike was good in the second race and he passed me again and then went a little bit wide.
I turned on the inside of him and we touched a little bit, so I had to say sorry. It is fun to race with anyone but great fun to race with Leon. There have been a lot of times off the track where we have been training together and he is not scared of a bit of argy-bargy.”