A challenging day at Misano World Circuit in Italy ended early for Alex Lowes with just four points and a 12th place to show from his efforts in the first World Superbike race, but the team and riders remain positive for the next round at Laguna Seca in America.
A difficult start saw Lowes drop out of the top-10 from his seventh-place grid position in the morning's battle on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, where despite pushing to the maximum over the 21-lap encounter the British racer could not achieve better than 12th position, a clutch issue causing his eventual retirement six laps later. Lowes leaves Italy 11th in the Championship with 84 points and desperate to make amends in the USA in July.
Team-mate Randy de Puniet completed the afternoon race taking 17th at the flag, after retiring from the opening action with braking problems.
Cooler 23°C temperatures greeted the 32,000 fans at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli today as Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea shared the two race trophies.
The Championship now sees a month break between races with Voltcom Crescent Suzuki returning to the UK in preparation for the trip to America, and the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, on Sunday July 19th.
“Misano was a really difficult track for the whole team last year and this year wasn’t any different. The GSX-R is a lovely bike to ride. For the second race we made a change that should have helped us move forward but the clutch dragged off the line and overheated so I stopped in the end. I really feel I’m riding well, and the team is doing everything it can to be competitive, but maybe at this track our level just wasn’t good enough. Laguna should be better, I love the track so I’ll arrive there with a positive attitude and we’ll give it 100%.”
Randy de Puniet:
“It has been a hard Sunday. In race one I had a problem with the front brake so I stopped to try a different system but there was not the improvement I was looking for. In race two we changed everything; it was better for four laps but after that I struggled again. Now we need to focus on Laguna Seca, resolve the brake issue and improve the chassis setting. I’m disappointed because after the Portimao test I was more confident for this race but unfortunately it was not to be.”
Paul Denning –Team Manager:
“I think the riders have said it all – a tough weekend and we struggled here a lot, as we did in 2014. Alex was able to ride around the performance deficiencies in qualifying and be quite competitive, but to do the same over 21 laps is impossible. The bike is working quite well in isolation – the new ECU system is behaving normally, control is good but entry grip, drive-off the slippery corners and outright performance were simply lacking compared to the top competitor machines. We will not give up at all, the guys in the team are committed to further increases in performance – we wish Laguna was next week so that we could make amends and move forward quickly.”
Misano – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Race One: 1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 33’30.813: 2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) +3.613: 3. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +4.178: 4. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) +5.944: 5. Leon Haslam (Aprilia) +12.155: 12. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki). +26.625. DNF: Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki).
Misano – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Race Two: 1. Rea 33’31.716: 2. Giugliano +1.290: 3. Haslam +2.436: 4. Davies +2.514: 5. Sykes +5.694: 17. Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) + 55.983. DNF Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki).
World Championship Classification: 1. Rea 375: 2. Sykes 242: 3. Haslam 226: 4. Davies 213: 5. Torres 140: 11. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 84: 18. Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 22.