WorldSBK Estoril: ‘Frustrated’ Lowes fights back from penalty

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

A tough decision to relegate many riders on the grid, as a consequence of a new rule that cancels any rider’s best lap done under a yellow flag, saw Alex Lowes twice start from tenth on the grid at Estoril.

Crashing for 19th place and no points on Saturday, in the wind, Lowes was much more himself on Sunday, with a sixth from tenth on the grid again and then a fourth place that only the astounding Razgatlioglu’s performance stopped being third.

“A good recovery. The Superpole race was hard because starting from tenth, the first corner here is so small it’s hard to really make up a lot of places,” Lowes told bikesportnews.com.

“Starting from the fourth row was tough, but I got on the back of the lead group behind Rinaldi. To be honest, I felt a little bit faster than him but I did a few 36s and caught up to them, but I couldn’t pass him anywhere on the track. I was struggling. He had a bit of gap here, then I closed back up. Even this little straight, I wasn’t that good onto the straight so I would lose a little bit.

It was a bit of a frustrating race. The last lap there was a little bit of a gap, but for one point in the Superpole race it’s important to finish. Took a second-row start for the last race, and I felt like I was going to be a lot stronger in the afternoon. So I was happy with the Superpole race. Race two was tough. Obviously we used the SC0 and it’s easy for Scott (Redding) to say - the Kawasaki has more grip so they can use the zero - but honestly it’s not the case.

“He (meaning Jonathan Rea) just rides the bike well. Our bike last year many times I was the only guy on the X. Everybody else was on the zero because of riding like a Yamaha, on the edge. This bike, you need to get the bike up a little bit so you can afford to go on the zero. It’s hard to manage. There’s not much grip on the edge. In the hot conditions, I didn’t manage it as well as Jonathan did.

“At the start it’s hard because the guys around you have got more grip and it was quite tough. The last part of the race when Toprak passed me again, I was having a look at him and I thought, ‘not today!’ I’m not fast enough to stay with him. So then I just tried to be smart, get some points. Unfortunately for a few of the guys they had some incidents and I was in a decent position. We had a pretty good two races on Sunday. A lot of information. A lot better than last year, so it gives me a lot of optimism going to Misano.”

Given his experiences of Raceday one in Portugal Lowes tried something different but went back to what he knew. “No difference really,” he confirmed. “In morning warmup I tried a different front tyre, but I didn’t feel too comfortable with it so I went back to what we knew.

“This afternoon’s race I felt a little bit less grip. I wasn’t that confident with the bike, to be honest. Anyway, I’ll take the result. Good for the team. Johnny did a good job. We’ll look at why he was a lot better in that particular race and we’ll try and improve for Misano.”