Alex Lowes says he and his Suzuka 8 Hour title-defending Yamaha team are gearing up for a close finish to Sunday’s race, with the Brit making the most of tonight’s night practice to top the session. With the sun setting for the final hour of the race and Lowes the man who has finished the race in darkness the past two years for the squad, he told MCN he’s ready to take on the challenge again.
“I don’t know if the plan is for me to finish the race yet, but I was quick again in the dark tonight. We’re anticipating a close race and we have to be fast in all conditions, and so far, I’ve been able to do that.
“Hopefully if it’s going to rain on Sunday during the race we’ll get some time in the rain tomorrow during the final practice, but I enjoy riding in the wet here too and I’m confident we can be ready whatever happens. I had a really good run here a few years ago on the Suzuki in the wet, and I haven’t ridden the Yamaha in those conditions but I’m happy it’ll be good!”
And while he might not have been able to match World Superbike rival Jonathan Rea for once lap pace as the Kawasaki rider smashed the lap record, Lowes is confident that he’s got the race pace to take the fight to their rivals.
“It’s always hard in a 15-minute session to set a fast time, especially when you’ve only got two sets of tyres between three riders. But I feel good, the plan has gone well, and even on used tyres my times were competitive. I feel like our consistent pace is good and that I’m faster than last year – and we were already strong then!
“We’ve changed to 17” tyres from 16.5” and I thought that would make a difference to the front feeling, but I’ve actually got more confidence than last year, and I’ve been fast every time I’ve went out. I’m on a similar pace to Nakasuga and Michael is faster than he was last year, so I think we can be there.”