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Lowes & Voltcom Crescent Suzuki on Jerez 3rd Row

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Team Suzuki Press Office – September 19.

Alex Lowes will line up for tomorrow’s 20-lap races on row three at the Jerez Circuit after taking his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki to ninth in this afternoon’s World Superbike Superpole.

A strong morning had seen the British racer confidently set consistent pace aboard his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000, running in the top-five at the close of practice. Heading into the mid-afternoon Superpole Lowes unfortunately suffered with a gear-shifting issue, preventing him from fully-exploiting the rhythm found earlier in the weekend. His 1’41.427 best-lap places him ninth in the times, rounding-out the third row for Sunday’s two races.

Randy de Puniet continued to battle with an intermittent brake problem that has been the focus of his attention for much of the past two days, while pushing to sustain the improvements seen in recent races. With the issue persisting during his qualifying session, the Frenchman’s 1’42.486 time sits him 15th, and on row five, with his Suzuki GSX-R1000 for tomorrow’s races.

While Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea looks set to fight for the 2015 Championship title this weekend, it was his team-mate Tom Sykes who stole the pole position with a blistering 1’40.292, and a new lap record, as the track temperatures reached 45°C in the 31°C afternoon heat.

Race action at the Jerez Circuit is scheduled to start at 10:30 and 13:10hrs local time (09:30 and 12:10BST) tomorrow with Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Lowes and de Puniet eager to join the battle.

Alex Lowes:

“It’s been a good weekend and we’ve been working well throughout. We had a good practice three and four today and it was just a shame we struggled in qualifying – with just a few small problems that meant we didn’t get as much from the session as we had wanted to – but it’s tomorrow that is important. I feel like we’ve had a great weekend, some weekend’s this year we’ve pulled it out of the bag in qualifying and maybe masked a bad weekend, but it’s gone the other way here, with strong practices and a struggling qualifying, but hopefully that is a good omen for the race! We have some things to work through this evening but I’m looking forward to a couple of hard races tomorrow.”

Randy de Puniet:

“Today was a difficult day for me because I am still suffering problems with the brakes. The issue is inconsistent so it is difficult to manage and find the solution. I don’t really understand as for the last two weekends it was ok, with a little issue during the second race in Malaysia – but here we have just been working on this and not had any real time to focus on setting up the bike. I really hope we can fix the problem and look forward to the races tomorrow.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“Alex has had a very strong weekend overall so far with good performances in both FP3 and FP4. The qualifying result is disappointing because the top-six, and the second row, was an achievable target. Unfortunately he had back luck with a gear-shifting problem in qualifying that made it difficult to ride at the absolute limits and when you’re looking to go as fast as the guys need to with the qualifying tyre, a small problem like that can easily cost half-a-second. Despite that, we are looking forward to two solid races tomorrow. The race-pace has been quite good and I think Alex has the opportunity to improve dramatically on his qualifying position.

“Randy has also been going pretty well this weekend with consistent pace, but the recurring theme of inconsistent brake performance has continued to haunt us and has left both rider and team scratching their heads and looking for further solutions. We will do what we can tonight to stabilise the braking performance for tomorrow and hope that Randy can give us a good run in return.”

Jerez – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Superpole: 1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’40.292: 2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) +0.208: 3. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) +0.216: 4. Michael van der Mark (Honda) +0.664: 5. Jordi Torres (Aprilia) +0.682: 9. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) + 1.135. 15. Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) SP1.