Alex Lowes put in an impressive performance on the opening day of his MotoGP debut at Silverstone today to lap just 2.4 seconds off the overall pace despite having spent just two sessions on the bike.
The Yamaha man, deputising for the injured Bradley Smith in the Tech 3 Racing team, placed 19th in the afternoon’s second session having made a two second improvement on his lap time from the morning’s opening practice.
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“It’s been a good day, not too bad!” he told journalists at the track. “Everything is still quite new and with these tyres when the temperature isn’t too high it’s a bit more difficult. I’m still learning a lot every lap, we didn’t change too much with the bike, we’re just trying to understand the bike and the tyres.”
“I don’t feel like I did too well, but I don’t feel like I did too bad either. I’m starting to understand the bike a bit now but it is difficult. I think given the laps I’ve done and coming a BSB and WSB background is not favourable experience for MotoGP, so I feel I’ve done quite well for the laps I’ve done.”
While 2.4 seconds off the fastest time set by Ducati’s Andrea Iannone, Lowes rode the whole second session on used tyres while a number of riders, including team-mate Pol Espargaro, stuck in new rubber towards the end in an effort to secure a spot in tomorrow’s Q2 qualifying session in case it rains in the morning’s FP3. He had been within a second of Espargaro until this point, but ended the session just 1.2 seconds off the Spaniard’s time.
“I improved more than two seconds over the two sessions today and I still feel like I can improve quite a bit more. I’m just starting to feel as if I’m riding the bike OK in some corners, I’m starting to get some good sensations with the bike.”
The day wasn’t without mishaps for the 25-year-old, who slipped off after tucking the front at Farm on an out-lap towards the end of the session. While he’s quick to put the crash down to inexperience, championship leader Marc Marquez had an identical crash at the same corner earlier in the second, he too on his out lap.
“I had in my head that I had to keep the heat in the tyre and my in lap before was way off the pace, I didn’t realise it was so critical for temperature,” Lowes explained. “In the afternoon I kept the pace up, the crash was just down to inexperience. There are somethings like that where if you’re not at a test for two days where you can cruise around and really take your foot off the gas to learn things, there are some things you have to learn the hard way. I didn’t crash because I was riding stupid, going too fast or out-brake myself, I rode that way because the tyres I’m used to would never do that! The temperature today hasn’t been the best, it’s been a bit windy and the tyres can cool down quite quickly.”
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