MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Sizzling Spanish Start as Lowes Hits Jerez Top 3

pata-yamaha_101416

Alex Lowes opened his penultimate MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship campaign of 2016 in fighting style at Spain’s Circuito de Jerez today by claiming third in Friday’s free practice times with a best lap of 1’41.804. Sylvain Guintoli was also up to speed quickly setting a 1’41.901 to take sixth, with both Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK riders safely through to Saturday’s Superpole 2.

Feeling comfortable from the off, both with his recovering fitness and his YZF-R1, Lowes ran strongly at the 4,423m track as Friday’s practice sessions commenced. The morning’s cool conditions allowed the pace to develop steadily, with the times dropping as the temperatures began to soar. The British rider closed the initial hour in a promising fifth position with a fastest time of 1’42.366 but with the asphalt 11°C hotter, peaking at 35°C, the afternoon soon ramped up. Pleased with the consistent race pace he had run for the majority of the second session, Lowes used the closing minutes to lay down his marker and secure his top-three position in the day’s combined times.

Guintoli began the morning session convincingly, sitting sixth after the first 25 minutes until a technical issue cut his practice short. His Pata Yamaha crew working quickly to a solution, his YZF-R1 was back out on track and straight in to second position as the afternoon session began, with the Frenchman continuing to run strongly as the final 60 minutes counted down. Satisfied with his Spanish weekend’s progress so far, Guintoli is looking forward to tomorrow’s 20-lap race, scheduled for 13:00 local time.

Niki Tuuli continued his compelling run in the FIM Supersport World Championship, despite competing in only his fourth race event in the series, by claiming third after Friday’s two practice sessions. The young Finn set a best lap of 1’44.914 on his Kallio Racing YZF-R6 as he heads directly into Saturday’s second Superpole at 11:55.

Alex Lowes
3rd / 1’41.804 / 47 laps

“It’s been a good day and I feel a lot better on the bike, which after feeling a little second-hand at Magny-Cours is nice! The guys have done a great job, we’ve gone back to a setting that I know from testing and it’s the best feeling I’ve had over the year on the front of the YZF-R1 so I’ve got more confidence. If I can keep working hard with that tomorrow to try to improve my confidence a little more, then we should be good. I’m not too worried about the race result I just want to be solid and close the gap on the guys at the front over the race distance, which is my goal for this weekend but so far it’s been good!”

Sylvain Guintoli
6th / 1’41.901 / 33 laps

“In the end it was a good day overall for us. It started on the back foot with a bit of a technical issue but we picked it back up straight away from the first laps of FP2 and managed to climb almost all the way up before working on the race pace. It was an interesting day, the track is very slippery with the high temperatures and I think it is going to create some very interesting riding for tomorrow, with loads of riders close together. Hopefully a good qualifying pace for us and a good fight tomorrow.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal

“It’s been a good Friday here at Jerez. The only negative was a technical issue for Sylvain this morning but both rider and team rebounded very well, with immediate speed this afternoon.

“Alex had a really solid day and has reacted extremely well from the disappointments of the last race. Lots of fast, consistent laps and good technical feedback puts us in a good place for tomorrow.

“Everybody in the team has been very focused today and everyone has done a good job. It’s very close on pace between the podium and 10th position, so we need to qualify well tomorrow morning and hope we can continue this progression.”