Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes had a weekend to be proud of at his home round of the 2014 World Superbike Championship from Donington Park in Leicestershire, coming away from the fifth round of the season with his first world championship podium to his name.
|“The bike was a bit damaged but I tried my best”
A circuit which the Lincolnshire rider is more than familiar with from his years on the British scene, Lowes finished in the top 6 at the end of the three Free Practice sessions, automatically seeding him through to the sopping wet Superpole 2 on Saturday afternoon. The current British champion went on to secure a second row start for Sunday’s races, missing out on the front row by little over a tenth of a second.
In the opening few laps of race one, Lowes managed to weave his way up through the field to lead for several laps, giving the British fans a lot to cheer about. Unfortunately he was unable to stay ahead of the brutally dominant Kawasaki ZX10Rs of Loris Baz and 2013 World Champion, Tom Sykes. Lowes crossed the line in third, just 6 seconds off Sykes out front.
The Suzuki rider had a far more dramatic race two having to climb back up through the field following an incident with Aprilia’s Marco Melandri down at the Melbourne Loop in the opening few laps. According to Lowes’ crew chief, Les Pearson, his GSXR1000 suffered: “a badly bent handlebar down and back, no rear brake, quarter length footrest, broken front suspension pot meaning TC was cutting in and broken brake span adjuster which was always flapping and hitting his helmet”; yet the ever determined twin still managed to salvage a 9th place finish – a sterling performance.
Following the race at the Paddock Show, Lowes summed up his thoughts from the weekend: “It’s been a great weekend. It’s good to come to a track that I know really well, I can race it with the top boys and yes, I led my first world superbike race which was really exciting and I managed to hang on to it and get the podium. I made some pretty big changes between the races, the bike was working really well in the second race and I felt pretty good at the start. I got my best lap time in the opening laps but just coming into the Melbourne Loop, I came in a bit fast and as Loris went up the inside of Marco putting him a bit wide – I had nowhere to go. I’m really sorry for him, I hope he’s alright. I really enjoyed the race after that, the bike was a bit damaged but I tried my best, got some points and hopefully this is the start of an upward climb for me and the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team.”