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Disappointment at Donington for Pata Yamaha

Pata Yamaha_052816

The opening race day of the UK WorldSBK round at Donington Park proved disappointing for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK team as Alex Lowes was forced to withdraw from his home competition. After starting his debut well, new teammate Cameron Beaubier’s race also ended early with a last corner accident on the opening lap.

Confident of his early progression despite the unknown tyres, track and machine, Beaubier put on a strong showing as the Superpole qualifying session began at the British circuit. Improving on his pace during the free practice sessions, the American recorded a fastest time of 1’28.617 to take ninth position and a third row start for the afternoon’s 23-lap race.

Impressive off the lights, the young Yamaha rider was running sixth as his inaugural WorldSBK battle commenced and pushing hard, before a mistake at turn 12 brought his debut to an abrupt end. However, Beaubier is confident he can learn from the experiences so far and capitalise on his qualifying form as he returns to the track tomorrow for the second race, scheduled for 15:00 local time.

Following FP3, Lowes was forced to withdraw from the Donington event, due to the shoulder injury sustained at Sepang a fortnight ago. Despite receiving both physiotherapy and injections to enable him to compete in his home race, the local hero was unable to ride for more than three or four laps before losing strength in his shoulder at such a physically demanding track, which caused Lowes problems in terms of controlling his YZF-R1. The decision was unanimous between himself, the Pata Yamaha Team, Race Direction and the WorldSBK medical team, and while he would have loved nothing more than to compete in front of his home fans, safety remained the prime concern.

Cameron Beaubier
DNF

“Superpole was kind of up and down, I felt pretty good on the race tyre that we went out on at the beginning – we ended up going on the stiffer race tyre and I felt great. I had Giugliano in front of me and I was just pacing him and trying to get a little faster, which I did – I dropped quite a bit of time and it felt awesome! Then we went on the Superpole tyre and I obviously knew that it would have more grip, but with no experience of it I just didn’t trust it enough and made a couple of mistakes on my fastest lap. So I ended up going just as fast on my race tyre which was a bit frustrating, but third row on the grid was fine.

“In the race I got a pretty good start and slotted up into the first corner, passing a couple of guys – I think I was fifth or sixth – and yes it’s easy to say ‘it would have been a good race’ based on the first lap but I felt good straight away, right from the start, it’s just a shame that I had a little front end tuck going in to the last corner. I was pushing and really trying to get passed Savadori and do the best that I could, but I’m glad we have another day tomorrow to try and redeem myself a little bit!”

Alex Lowes
Championship: 10th / 70 points

“Gutted is an understatement! I wanted to ride for the team and for the fans but I just wasn’t able to maintain a competitive or safe pace so we couldn’t get the result that we all deserved. There isn’t much else to say, the facts are it wasn’t possible otherwise I would have given everything I have to get a result here. I now need to focus on getting back fit and healthy and look to start again at Misano so we can continue the momentum of the bike’s development and my own experience with the YZF-R1”

Paul Denning – Team Principal

“Alex’s withdrawal from the event is so disappointing but there was not an option. The team and Yamaha know that Alex fully believed he would be able to compete, and had made every conceivable effort to be ready. It wasn’t to be, but the commitment and enthusiasm displayed to support the team and the project is to be applauded. The disappointment is compounded because recent developments to the YZF-R1 have created a faster, more consistent machine and we all felt that a podium challenge – with a fit rider – was a possibility.

“Cameron has ridden superbly well so far and has impressed us with his adaptability and his feedback – as well as his speed. He’d made an aggressive start and was charging hard – as you have to at this level – but made an error at Goddards. It’s not an easy corner, as both Davies and Rea will confirm after their own Race One experiences, so he’s in good company and let’s try again tomorrow!”