PATA Yamaha’s Alex Lowes secured his first victory in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship around the sweeping turns of the Automotodrom Brno circuit, as he dominated race 2 in tricky conditions. Taking victory and becoming the 6th different WSBK winner this season.
Having come so close to victory at Donington Park ( at the round previous), Alex launched off the line, starting in pole position, and was able to lead the way, and only briefly allowed teammate van der Mark past for a few corners as he settled into his rhythm. As the second lap unfolded he was immediately back in front, and working hard towards keeping his YZF-R1 ahead. Marco Melandri briefly took the lead with 14 laps to go, but an error, running off and leaving Lowes to strike back. Delighted to take his first win, Lowes was thankful to his team for sticking by him.
“I feel fantastic,” he begins. “The team have been working so hard to give me what I want on the bike. After yesterday (Race 1) I was quite disappointed because we were up in the podium positions but missed out, so today we made some changes, the bike was really good. It was hard to enjoy when the bike was moving so much, but I did a good job and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved.”
Explaining how the handled the conditions, Lowes continues: “The engine character of the R1 is really strong when the grip goes down, which is why I’m surprised we struggled in the slippery conditions, but today the bike was great. It’s nice to give the guys something back.”
A fifth place in race 1 of the weekend with very low grip conditions and a hotter than expected track, put the hard working Pata Yamaha rider Lowes on pole position for race 2. Taking all the experience and data from yesterday, the team were able to step up a level and deliver a race bike that proved unbeatable in the right hands. Lowes took the holeshot into turn one at the front of the pack, and only briefly allowed teammate van der Mark past for a few corners as he settled into his rhythm. As the second lap unfolded he was immediately back in front, and working hard towards keeping his YZF-R1 ahead. Marco Melandri briefly took the lead with 14 laps to go, but quickly made an error, running off and leaving Lowes to strike ahead.
Back in second, van der Mark was able to keep him close but the race was the British rider’s to lose. A faultless race pace followed, Lowes maintaining and finally growing the gap to van der Mark behind to just over two seconds at the finish line. The perfect performance delivers Lowes his maiden WSBK victory and Yamaha’s third victory in the last four races.
Teammate van der Mark had also picked up his pace from yesterday’s challenging conditions and looked comfortable taking off from second on the grid today. The young Dutchman was unfazed by the greasy surface, calmly moving back into second after Melandri ran off the track ahead of him and race leader Lowes. Clearly benefiting from the race winning performances from the Donington Park rounds the race before, Michael van der Mark was able to keep within 2s of his teammate to the finish line, leaving the pack behind to secure a memorable Yamaha 1-2 on the podium.
The race results bring van der Mark up to third in the championship standings on 196 points. Alex’s race-winning performance brings him up to 154 points and places him in sixth in the standings. The WSBK championship next heads stateside to Laguna Seca and the world famous corkscrew corner!