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Stunning Superpole, Leading Lap and Fifth Place Fight Back for Lowes at Sepang Race One

Pata Yamaha_051416

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Alex Lowes stormed to a stunning second position during this afternoon’s MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship Superpole session at the Sepang International Circuit, in Malaysia, after setting a 2’03.002 qualifying lap. The British rider’s confidence grew as he lined up on the front row for the first of the weekend’s 16-lap contest, firing off the line to lead the pack into the first corner. A determined race throughout, Lowes concluded the opening contest with a strong top five position.

Holding fast at the front for the majority of race one’s opening 5,543m lap, Lowes lost the lead at the final hairpin, crossing the line for the first time in second place. The determination of the Brit shone through as he fought hard with the four-strong front group maintaining fourth position for the ensuing five laps before a mistake at turn four saw him running wide and demoted to ninth. Never one to shy away from a fight, Lowes dug deep, mounting a fresh charge as his pace improved and closing down fast on the riders ahead at the halfway stage. Picking them off one by one, he re-took three places in the first half of lap 13 taking another to round out the top five by its close. Fourth fastest on track for the closing stages of the competition, the British rider put on a standout performance against the soaring Sepang temperatures, demonstrating the development of the WorldSBK-spec YZF-R1 and the hard work of his Pata Yamaha crew – boosting his championship position by two places to eighth in the standings with a total of 70 points.

The efforts do not end there as Lowes and the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team will be back at the Malaysian track at 11:25 local time tomorrow for warm up ahead of the concluding race of the weekend at 16:00.

Alex Lowes
Race: 5th / +18.613 / 16 laps. Championship: 8th / 70 points

“It was a good day and a good race for me at Sepang, obviously my best result of the year so far and my best qualifying as well! It was good to lead the race, I got a good start and it was nice to ride the YZF-R1 at the front. We deserve to be more competitive every week so we need to keep working but it was a great feeling. We made some steps with the pace at the end to recover to fifth place – I wanted fourth but couldn’t quite make it! I pushed a little bit too hard to stay with Chaz at the beginning and made a mistake but if we can make some changes tomorrow to give me a bit better feeling from the bike in a few areas I think we could challenge for the podium. Maybe it’s a bit too soon but overall today felt good, I enjoyed it and hopefully but we can have another solid result on Sunday.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal

“Congratulations to Alex and the whole Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team for an excellent day’s work here in the heat of Sepang. To qualify on the front row in second position, lead the race for a lap and then recover from an off-track excursion to a strong fifth position honestly leaves no negatives to dwell upon. We can’t expect to improve to the level of the championship contenders in one step, it’s still very early days for the YZF-R1 in this championship and with the continued support of Yamaha, and excellent work by the crew we seem to have taken some small steps forward.

“It’s slightly meaningless but we can also take some confidence from the fact that if it weren’t for the lap-six excursion, based on the pace for the rest of the race, Alex would have finished less than four seconds from the podium. Let’s try and improve the bike further still and have a similarly strong day tomorrow.”