Alex Lowes paid a visit to KRT’s home podium in the ten-lap WorldSBK Superpole race on Sunday at Catalunya, his first such success since Donington in midsummer.
He also had a great qualifying performance on Saturday, going second fastest behind surprise Superpole rider, Iker Lecuona. It was shaping up to be a good first race for Lowes but he slipped back as grip issues arrived, in an unexpected fashion, and he finished a relatively lowly seventh.
“Honestly, I am disappointed in the race because I felt good on the bike,” Lowes said on Saturday from Barcelona. “In Superpole we made a change and the set up was good on fresh tyres. I was expecting maybe to struggle with the front tyre in the race but I made a good start and was in the leading group. The front tyre was quite good so in the last five laps, after Johnny [Rea] passed me, I tried to sit in there. I could see we were catching Toprak [Razgatlioglu], so I was still hoping and feeling good for a podium.
“In the last five laps I had big problems with my rear tyre grip. I felt really good on the bike at this track so it is a shame to finish seventh, because we are riding better than that.”
Lowes was in impeccable form in the Superpole race, staying within reasonable distance of triple race winner Alvaro Bautista. He slowed in the latter stages of the race and suddenly his KRT teammate Rea gained a few more championship points by passing him for second.
But a podium was still a podium for Lowes.
“It was nice to be back on the podium this morning in the Superpole race, especially at the team’s home track. But, it was a shame to end the weekend with a fall.”
Lowes lasted just a few corners of Sunday’s race two, before he lost the front in turn ten and could not restart. “I got swallowed up off the start,” he explained. “It was a good start but we lost a bit on acceleration so I got passed by a few guys. I managed to make some good moves in the first part of the lap and got in behind Toprak.
“As the bike was sliding it came back into line with a full fuel tank, it just pushed the front a little bit. I had gone for the hard front tyre compared to what I used this morning and it didn’t have enough grip. It just caught me out.
"I don’t think we had the pace for the podium in the long race but I think we have made some improvements on the bike from yesterday, so that would have been interesting to see if we could have kept the used tyres going a bit more.
“I am not going to let that second race take away from anything because this is a tough track for me, a tough track for the bike in some ways, and I have been so happy with my speed and feeling from the bike.”