An early exit put paid to a promising Saturday in Phillip Island for Alex Lowes after a turn two highside on his WorldSBK Kawasaki.
Having recorded a 1’29.864 lap - his best at the 4.4km Australian circuit - during the morning’s dry Superpole qualifier, Lowes lined up in eighth for the 22 lap race.
Feeling confident of the improvements made after a lacklustre pre-season test, the British rider showcased increasing feeling with his Ninja ZX-10RR despite heavy rain impacting the action. Immediately running in podium contention, Lowes dropped behind the pursuing Yamaha of Toprak Razgatlioglu on lap five before the Southern Loop claimed the number 22 with a heavy highside eight laps to the end.
“I was happy with my lap time in Superpole qualifying,” Lowes explained from Phillip Island on Saturday afternoon. “It is so close and tight in WorldSBK now I knew it was going to be important, and it was also the first time that I have used the SC0s. It wasn’t the best preparation but the lap I did in Superpole I was happy with. It is the best lap I have done here and the best I could do.
“In the race, I felt great. I went out and did two sighting laps and I knew in those conditions I could be strong on the Kawasaki.
“Straight away, from the first corners, I put myself in a good position but we had major problems with rear grip off-gas, in the middle of the corners. So when Toprak Razgatlioglu passed me I knew I was in a bit of trouble. I was going to be happy even with a top six finish at the start of the year but then I had a big highside in the middle of turn two.
“We have checked the data and it was a strange crash.
“As much as I would like to say I got a bit excited, and that wanted to get on the podium, and that I made a mistake, that wasn’t the case. But I am okay after a big crash and we got away with it and I have two more chances in the races tomorrow.”