Lowes Sets the Level with Stunning Maiden WSBK Victory in Brno
Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team’s Alex Lowes wrapped up a challenging MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship round in Brno today by winning style! The young Brit dominated the second Superbike race from pole to chequered flag to score his maiden WSBK race win and his first for the Pata Yamaha team. Teammate Michael van der Mark added the finishing touches to the perfect race day, bringing his YZF-R1 home in 2nd position to make it a Yamaha 1-2 – the first 1-2 finish for the team and for the new generation R1.
A fifth place in yesterday’s first Superbike race 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 today’s second race. 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 confidence of the last round, 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, 17 ahead of Tom Sykes in fourth and just nine behind Chaz Davies in second. Lowes’ race win brings him up to 154 points and places him in sixth in the standings, just three points behind Melandri in fifth.
“The first thing I need to say is a massive thanks to Yamaha, to the team and especially Paul who believed in me and brought me here from BSB. All the guys worked so hard to give me what I wanted on the bike. For me to win and Michael to come second for a Yamaha 1-2 is fantastic. On a personal level I’m so happy, Donington was hard to take, not to take anything away from Michael but it was tough for me to accept as I wanted to be the one to get the first win for the team as I felt like I’ve put so much into the project. The bike worked really well for me today, I really enjoyed the race, which is not easy when it’s so hot and slippery! I focused on being as smooth and consistent as I could be and now I’m over the moon. A massive thank you to Yamaha, I feel honoured to be part of this project and now we need to keep trying to win more races!”
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
“This morning in warm up we tried to change something on the bike to get a better feeling with the front and in the end it didn’t feel as good so we went back to yesterday’s setting. We only changed the front tyre and at the beginning of the race I struggled to get a good feeling with it. Alex passed me, Marco passed me; then he made a mistake. I was following Alex, he had such a good pace and we managed to pull away from third place so I was happy about that. I tried to close in on him and fight to win, I made it but in the last few laps he was stronger. I’m really happy with this podium and really happy for Alex for his first win. I think it's a great end for the whole Pata Yamaha Superbike Team.”
“What a day for everybody involved in the Pata Yamaha World Superbike project and of course in particular for Alex. To see Michael win at Alex’s home event two weeks ago and be so gracious and supportive of the team’s effort was appreciated by us all, but to come here to Brno have a relatively difficult first race and react as strongly as he did today to withstand all of Michael’s pressure and pull away towards the end was simply outstanding. Congratulations to Alex, to his crew and all the engineers involved. Of course a huge “well done” also to Michael for another super-strong performance and the maturity and intelligence to understand that 20 points was a better result than a potential crash on such a low grip surface.. Another weekend of firsts for the team, Alex’s first win, the team’s first 1-2 and a good step forward in the standings for both riders.”