Grey skies and a wet track greeted the WorldSBK riders as they headed out for Superpole this morning, but with the rain easing ahead of the session a dry line was quick to appear, although neither of the two Pata Yamaha riders were able to take advantage.
A crash at Goddards early in the session meant that Lowes and his crew erred on the side of caution and opted for intermediate tyres when he returned to the track for his one and only qualifying run. While his first flying lap put him second on the timesheet, Lowes was eventually demoted to eighth place as his slick shod rivals posted faster laps in the final minutes. Teammate van der Mark suffered a similar fate, missing the window to pit for fresh tyres, which left him 16th on the grid after completing the whole session on wets.
The rain returned just after midday, making for tricky track conditions for WorldSBK Race 1. Both Pata Yamaha riders took a measured approach in the early stages of the race, getting a feel for the conditions as the field was reduced by numerous crashes. Having caught and pressurised Alvaro Bautista until his crash on lap 11, Lowes then rode alone in fifth place for most of the race, lapping consistently and retaining focus all the way to the chequered flag to pick up valuable championship points.
After some brief battles early in race, including riding around the outside of Toprak Razgatlioglu at Hollywood to break into the top ten, van der Mark also found himself racing alone. The Pata Yamaha rider, who underwent surgery on a fractured right radius only ten days ago, eventually finished in eighth position to consolidate his third place in the championship standings.
It proved a difficult Race 1 for the GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK riders, Marco Melandri and Sandro Cortese. The Italian struggled with a lack of rear grip throughout the 23-lap race, which he started from the third row of the grid but managed to pick up points with a 14th place finish. After a good start from 12th on the grid Cortese was challenging for the top ten when he crashed without injury at turn eight just nine laps into the race.
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Loris Baz, was once again the first Yamaha rider home in wet conditions. The Frenchman was involved in the battle for the podium in the early stages, eventually finishing fourth and top independent rider on his R1.