Yamaha-racing caught up with Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Alex Lowes after round of eight of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship at Laguna Seca to look back on his season so far and discuss what it is like to be a part of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team aiming to make it three wins in a row at the legendary Suzuka 8 Hours.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Alex Lowes currently sits fifth in the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship with 148 points after 8 rounds having secured two podiums in his second season with the team. Yamaha-racing.com caught up with the 26-year-old British rider after the latest round at Laguna Seca, as he prepares to take part in the Suzuka 8 Hours for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team:
Talk us through your season so far
“Obviously, we are in the summer break now and more than halfway through the 2017 season. It has been a pretty strong start to the year, we managed to pick up two podiums but we struggled a little bit at the last round in Laguna Seca. In general, it has been pretty positive, there have still been too many ups and downs, and it has not been as consistent as I would have liked but I feel like I have made a step forward with my riding and we just need to take that next step to be consistently challenging for podiums in the second half of the season.”
What has been your highlight?
“My highlight would have to be my podium at Donington Park. It was my home race, so there was a little bit more pressure and I managed to get my first podium for Yamaha! The race was a strange one, I got knocked wide at the first corner and dropped back to last position. To come past so many guys and grab the podium on the last lap, not only was it an exciting race, but it meant a lot to me. That so far has been my highlight, but I am hoping there are a lot more to come!”
What do you think the key is to be challenging for victories?
“Closing the gap to the top guys in WorldSBK is no easy task, we need a combination of things to take that step forward. Obviously, some of it has to come from me, so I need to keep trying to improve myself, but also, we need to get a little bit more out of the bike, especially on corner exit. If we can improve that, it will make everything else a little bit easier, so that is an area we are really trying to focus on in the summer break and moving forward for the rest of the year.”
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
“My goals for the remainder of the 2017 season are quite simple really, to get as many podiums as possible and to challenge for my first win in WorldSBK.”
Are you excited for Suzuka?
“At the end of July, we have the Suzuka 8 Hours and I am really looking forward to it! We won the race last year and it was a fantastic event. This year I am riding with my WorldSBK teammate Michael van der Mark, so I am looking forward to riding with him, instead of against, for a change. It is going to be a fun event and we will try to do the best job possible to get the win again!”
What is the difference between the Suzuka-spec R1 and your WorldSBK R1?
“The biggest difference between riding the R1 at Suzuka and my normal WorldSBK R1 is the tyres, they feel very different. It is also a team race so you have to have set the bike up as a compromise between all three riders. It is something a bit different, but I really enjoy the team aspect of it and I am really looking forward to the Suzuka 8 Hours this year!”
Can you make it a hat-trick of wins for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team?
“I am really excited about trying to get a hat-trick of wins for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team. It would be the second time I have won it and between my teammates, Michael has won it twice before and Nakasuga-san was victorious with the team in the last two races. I know how important the third victory in a row would be to the team and Nakasuga-san, so I will give it 100% and we will try our best to win!”