Team Suzuki Press Office – April 25. Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes took fourth place at Assen’s ‘Cathedral of Speed’ in the eni FIM Superbike World Championship first practice and qualifying in the Netherlands today.
Lowes ran a consistent pace at the Dutch circuit throughout both Friday sessions on the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000, briefly holding the top-spot – with less than 10-minutes to go in the afternoon practice – with a time of 1’36.219. The Englishman’s time was enough for fourth-fastest in the combined standings having circulated well within the top-eight for the duration of the day. A small crash in the last two minutes of the second session saw Lowes unscathed and positive ahead of the remainder of the weekend.
Eugene Laverty finished the day with a fastest lap of 1’36.467, holding seventh in the tightly-contested times. Confident with the changes made to the Suzuki GSX-R1000 since Aragon two weeks ago, Laverty is looking forward to tomorrow’s Superpole qualifying and the subsequent races on Sunday.
An unexpectedly-warm and sunny Assen TT Circuit saw temperatures reach 24°C for the afternoon’s second practice session, after an overcast morning had threatened to retain its cool and blustery conditions. Ducati’s Davide Giugliano posted the fastest time of the day of 1’35.396.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki is confident the pace shown across the two practice sessions can be improved upon for tomorrow’s final timed free practice at 09:45hrs local time (08:45BST) ahead of Superpole qualifying at 15:00hrs local time (14:00BST) that will allow them to challenge with the front-runners on race-day.
“I’m happy enough. We did some longer runs and then one shorter today on the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki which felt pretty good, but there is plenty to improve on. It’s nice to be at a track that I know, and because of that I can relax a bit and enjoy it a lot more. It’s been a mega first day and we’re not too far away. I’m looking forward to making a couple of changes and also improving myself to adjust where this bike is better on the track compared to what I’ve been used to in the past.”
“The first practice; we were really strong, not quite as strong as in the warmer afternoon practice so we still need to improve. I’m struggling with corner-entry grip but the Suzuki GSX-R has definitely improved a big step compared with Aragon; I’m much happier with the character and I think we can be really strong here and be in contention for the podium.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The first day here at Assen has been very positive, not least that the expected rain stayed away and it was an enjoyable day to be at this fantastic racetrack. The team’s done a very good job to make quite a fundamental change to the GSX-R since Aragon – back at the workshop in the UK – which has given both the riders better front-feeling and more-immediate confidence in the bike; and that’s reflected in the consistency and lap times. Wet-or-dry, we are looking forward to being competitive over the rest of the weekend. Obviously we are very glad that Alex is 100% ok after his crash at the end of the second session and we live to fight another day tomorrow.”
Assen – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Free Practice combined times: 1. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’35.396: 2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +0.484: 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +0.750: 4. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +0.823: 5. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +1.021. 7. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +1.071.