The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team put in an encouraging performance on Sunday at Phillip Island with both riders on podium pace in an enthralling Race 2. Alex Lowes fought in the leading group throughout the incredibly entertaining 22-lap flag-to-flag race2, before crossing the line in fifth, a mere 2.474s behind the race winner.
His teammate Michael van der Mark was also in the podium hunt during the first part of the race but suffered from a drop in grip levels after his pit stop, battling hard to finish just half a second behind his teammate in seventh.
This result sees Lowes claim 11 championship points to add to the ten he picked up on Saturday, meaning he leaves Phillip Island fifth in the overall standings with 21 points. Michael van der Mark occupies eighth in the championship standings with 16 points heading into Round 2.
Alex Lowes commented:
"The second race was a lot better! Honestly, the bike was the best it had felt all week, which is promising to see how much progress we can make on a race weekend. After the pit stops, I felt really strong and thought I could challenge for the podium but I just had a couple of issues holding me back a little bit, which is unfortunate but that is racing.
I felt really strong on the bike and I enjoyed the close nature of the racing. The pit stops did not make it easy but to get through the first round after struggling to feel comfortable during what has actually been quite a tough week for me, these results are not the end of the world.
I am reasonably happy but I can't be completely satisfied with fifth and sixth-place finishes as I want to be fighting for podiums and winning races, which is what we will try and do in Thailand."
Michael van der Mark commented:
"It was a really interesting race! I had quite a good start and, to be honest, I really enjoyed the first ten laps. It was a massive battle for the podium and was a really good race.
We made a perfect pit stop, but I just didn't have the same feeling or grip levels afterwards and I could not keep up with the leaders. It is a big shame as I felt really strong and was matching the guy's in front lap times before the pit stop. I felt I could have battled for the podium, but anyway, it is important to take some points.
It has been a really strange weekend with all the tyre issues, so I am looking forward to Thailand and hopefully there we can show our full potential."
The next round kicks off 25th March in Thailand.