The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team endured a rollercoaster Saturday at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz as the morning’s heavy rain attempted to interrupt what looked to be a promising weekend. Alex Lowes, determined as ever, battled back on his YZF-R1 as the race began to take eighth at the flag, with teammate Sylvain Guintoli just behind, securing ninth on his comeback.
Lowes went in to the German round’s opening race having set just a single lap in the final free practice, becoming one of many to fall foul of the morning’s tricky conditions and suffer an early crash. The Briton was hampered further as delays to the final preparation of his YZF-R1 eventually prevented his participation in Superpole. Lining up 12th on the grid due to his solid Friday performance, he faced a battle with the majority of the pack through the opening lap’s initial tight corners before beginning to find his pace as the race unfolded. Released into clear air at the mid-way stage, Lowes attempted to bridge the gap to the front group as he picked up momentum but the difference was too steep to fully recoup. Crossing the line in eighth, the number 22 rider brings his championship total to 102 points ahead of tomorrow’s second encounter.
Showing promising pace in the wet conditions of the morning practice, Guintoli finished the 15 minute session in fourth, before entering the Superpole qualifying to experience further unknown conditions. A short session on the drying track brought a quandary for the French rider as he chose to remain on track and maintain his rhythm on the race rubber expecting the conditions to remain stable. However, the surface improved faster than expected allowing his competitors to set times on the qualifying Pirelli’s while he circulated. Starting his returning WorldSBK race in ninth place Guintoli concluded his comeback 21-lap contest by maintaining position, his resulting seven points promoting him to 13th in the championship standings.
Sunday sees the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team on track at 09:25 local time as Lowes and Guintoli warm up for their final race at the Lausitzring, scheduled for 13:00.
Race: 8th / +27.395. Championship: 11th / 102 points.
“It was a difficult race for me today and obviously I’m disappointed to be so far from the guys at the front. I missed qualifying totally so 12th on the grid was not ideal as the first four or five corners are quite tight and I got stuck behind a few guys. Once I got some clear track my times were better but in general we just didn’t have the speed and my times just weren’t fast enough so we need to look at how to improve for tomorrow. Hopefully we can have a dry race and close the gap on the front group.”
Race: 9th / +33.221. Championship: 13th / 65 points.
“It was good to get my first race back on track done. The qualifying didn’t really go to plan, the track conditions were quite tricky and in the end I decided to stay out on track, which was the wrong call. I got caught out and didn’t have time to come in for the qualifier so we could have done better with this. The race for me was quite a struggle as I couldn’t find the same pace as I had in practice. In the end to be back after almost five months and finish not far behind Alex was a positive first race back in the saddle. There is still quite a big gap to the front guys so we now need to work on improving the feeling to close this ready for tomorrow.”
Paul Denning Team Principal
“The pace of the YZF-R1 and the riders looked very positive in FP1 yesterday, and even with Alex missing most of FP2 after his crash we still felt reasonably confident of a decent showing today. Unfortunately Alex’s crash in FP3 on a track that had extremely low grip set us back another step and missing qualifying altogether obviously didn’t help. From there Alex rode a solid race but struggled to pass his competitors in the early laps and frankly speaking even with the problems faced, didn’t have as much pace over race distance as we had expected or hoped for.
“For Sylvain it’s the first day back at school after a very long break. He rode well, made no mistakes and can’t be too disappointed with his level given the circumstances. For both riders we will be working hard this evening to make sure there is nothing left in the pit that we might be able to do to help them achieve better performance tomorrow and we hope for an improved performance in WorldSBK’s first event back in Germany for some years.”
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.