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Canepa Delights at Home with Strong Seventh in Debut Misano Race

Pata Yamaha_061816
Home talent Niccolò Canepa secured a top ten finish on his debut race with the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli this afternoon as he claimed seventh in the 21-lap battle. Alex Lowes rode a strong opening race, holding an excellent fourth position until half distance before his shoulder injury restricted his pace, crossing the line in 13th.

Canepa immediately fought hard as race one began, building on the weekend’s momentum and frustrated by his qualifying session – after a red flag situation called time early on the opening Superpole, preventing him from setting a lap on the optimum tyres. Jumping five places, to tenth, as the lights went out the Italian continued to push, circulating in eighth from the second lap before his pace improved further in the closing laps. Taking a sensational seventh place on his debut race on the YZF-R1 Canepa claimed nine championship points for himself and his Pata Yamaha team.

A stunning qualifying performance on Saturday morning, setting a 1’34.641 time, gave Lowes a fourth place start as the grid lined up for the opening contest. Strong off the lights, the British rider managed to avoid the second corner incident and was running sixth as he crossed the line for the first lap. Continuing to progress on the riders around him he claimed fourth by the next revolution, holding the position for the next eight laps until his strength, due to the recent injury, began to wane. Determined to continue to fight and battling hard to regain his rhythm, Lowes eventually took 13th position at the flag but is eager for more in Sunday’s return, at 13:00 local time.

Niccolò Canepa
Race: 7th / +19.385 / 21 laps. Championship: 20th / 9 points

“I was really frustrated after the Superpole because I had bad luck with the red flag and was unable to set a lap on the qualifying tyres. Starting in 15th position did not help us, for sure, but I tried to push from the very beginning and got a very good start. From the first lap I was tenth and had a very consistent pace, the bike felt good until the end and for the last five or six laps it was very fast compared to the others. I am very satisfied with the results today and for sure with a better position in qualifying we could have been fighting nearer the front. It’s very good to be seventh in my first race and to be the top Italian at the home round and good to get this result for Yamaha on my debut.”

Alex Lowes
Race: 13th / +38.181 / 21 laps. Championship: 10th / 73 points

“I’m really frustrated with today as I feel I lost out on what could have been a strong finish. The main issue was my physical condition as I haven’t done a full race since Saturday in Sepang. I was only able to manage a few laps at Donington after the operation on my shoulder. I came here determined to race and realistically I could only do 10-12 laps today. Misano is a physically demanding circuit and today was a bit of a strange race. I could see van der Mark in front of me and the chance of a podium so I was pushing too hard for my condition which resulted in a mistake, running off the track. I was lucky not to crash and re-joined, but had lost a lot of my rhythm so it was a frustrating way to finish as I feel it was a good opportunity for a top-five finish.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal

“First of all, congratulations to Niccolò on his debut ride with the team and his first World Superbike race since Qatar last season. He was unlucky in qualifying with the red flag not allowing him to improve his lap time on new tyres, but from 15th on the grid he avoided the lap one carnage, and smoothly and consistently increased his pace over the course of the race and seventh place was a great result – with an average speed less than one second a lap from the leader. I think with the experience of this race under his belt, I believe there are more improvements that can be made for tomorrow and we will try to repeat today’s excellent showing.

“Alex also rode a brilliant race, but unfortunately was only able to take that performance to half distance. Athletes can often believe that more is possible with their recoveries than normal people but in the end a combination of weakness in the shoulder, particularly in the heavy braking zones, and the physical changes of direction here started to take their toll. It was extremely disappointing for Alex that he wasn’t able to maintain his excellent pace and his safe fourth position. With the help of the Clinica Mobile and perhaps some changes to the bike to make it easier to ride, Alex will put himself through it again tomorrow and hopefully this time try to put a consistent race together as much as his physical condition will allow.”