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Lowes Fights on at Imola as Guintoli Falls

Pata Yamaha_043016

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team endured a difficult day at Imola’s Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari today. Alex Lowes rode his solitary YZF-R1 to 11th place in the weekend’s first race after an accident in Superpole qualifying meant Sylvain Guintoli was unable to take part.

A challenging qualifying session meant Lowes would start this afternoon’s race from the head of the fifth row in 13th position and, as he has shown in previous weekends, his determination was evident from lights out. Immediately gaining positions, the young Brit began the contest running 11th, improving further to enter the top-10 by the sixth lap. A 12-lap battle ensued for the remainder of the race as six bikes vied for seventh place and, while Lowes swapped positions on a number of occasions, he was eventually beaten at the line to finish just outside of the hard-fought top-10. Five points brings his championship tally to 49, sitting him 11th in the standings heading in to tomorrow’s final 19-lap race at 13:00 local time.

Guintoli had a strong morning, concluding the final free practice in seventh position as he prepared for the Superpole qualifier. Unfortunately, an intense high-side at turn 12 brought the Frenchman down hard and he was quickly recovered to the circuit’s medical centre. Alert, conscious and talking he was transferred to Imola hospital for further investigation. Fortunately the checks have revealed no serious injuries and although he is in a lot of discomfort and will remain under observation overnight, he is in good spirits and hopes to return to the track tomorrow.

Alex Lowes
11th / +29.622 / 18 laps

“The actual race, results-wise was very disappointing today, especially as this weekend’s goal was to try to bridge the gap to the front group. However, with everything that has gone on this weekend, with many differing issues, I actually felt I rode well during the race and it felt more like a test session as we got a lot of useful information from the bike. If the conditions are similar for tomorrow’s race I’m quite optimistic that we could make a good step. I enjoyed the race and was in a decent battle with a few riders which was quite fun, I tried to make a move on the last lap and ended up losing a position which is a shame at the end of a race but we managed to stay consistent throughout the distance which is something we didn’t have at Assen, so that is a positive. We are still far from being able to piece all the bits together which is where we need to be, so I’m disappointed overall but with definite positives to work on for tomorrow.

“I also really hope that Sylvain is ok, your teammate is always the first person you want to beat but I have a lot of respect for him and I know how he feels at the moment so I really hope he is alright and can come back as soon as possible.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal

“Our first thoughts today have to immediately turn to Sylvain and the incredible high-side he had in Superpole this morning. Luckily his injuries, while still to be determined in fine-detail, are not serious and after such a frightening accident we can all be thankful for that. As we currently speak he is still in Imola hospital receiving good care and undergoing checks, we hope that he will be released tomorrow and we can announce some detailed news regarding his recovery and when he will be able to re-join the team.

“For Alex, the day was a combination of negatives but with some clear light at the end of the tunnel. Some technical problems in qualifying stopped him from advancing from SP1 so a 14th place start at Imola, one of the most difficult circuits to pass on, was never going to make life easy. The positives are that the YZF-R1 was more consistent over distance than yesterday, that Alex could maintain a reasonable pace towards the end of the race and was able to fight with the group, racing for seventh position. Alex was frustrated not to have got to the front of that group but encouraged by the improved handling and consistency in the bike, so whatever the weather we will try to take some further steps for tomorrow and achieve the best possible result for both Alex and the team.”