News 21 Feb 2019

Phillip Island 'always a strange test' declares Lowes

Factory Yamaha rider adamant he's in a better place than what the times indicate.

Image: Supplied.

Alex Lowes has described pre-season testing at Phillip Island as strange ahead of this weekend’s 2019 FIM Motul Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) opener at the Australian seaside venue.

Lowes completed this week’s test in P9, 0.843s off pace-setter and WorldSBK newcomer Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati), which is a contrary position to the top three pace he displayed at the official tests in Jerez and Portimao.

Despite just making the top 10, the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team rider is adamant he’s entering the weekend with a positive feeling in his YZF-R1, stating he’s in a better position than what his times indicate.

“The feeling is quite good going into the first race after the test here at Phillip Island,” Lowes explained. “It’s always a strange test here, as it’s fairly easy to do one fast lap, but it’s the last half of the race that is critical at this track.

“So we spent a lot of time at the test working to improve tyre endurance, trying not to work the rear tyre in particular too hard, with positive results. The second day in Australia was interrupted by what was a bit of a strange crash at turn one, which I was lucky to walk away from but, overall, preseason testing has gone really well.

“There are still a couple of areas in which we can improve but we’re in a much better position going into this weekend than our lap times from the second test day would indicate. Now we just need to keep working, especially with the tyres, if we are to start the season with good results here in Australia.”

Practice for the WorldSBK and WorldSSP categories kicks off tomorrow, while the opening round of the Motul Pirelli Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), which will run in conjunction with the world championship this weekend, commences today with the initial practice sessions.