Alex Lowes returned to the podium today in Misano, with a superb ride to second place in the 10-lap Superpole sprint race. The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider looked all set to repeat his podium performance in Race 2 this afternoon but, with grip levels at an all-time low, Lowes erred on the side of caution and took the points for fourth place rather than risking all to pass Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam on the final lap.
Rising temperatures and a slick track surface made for a difficult first outing for the WorldSBK grid today but, unfazed by the tricky conditions, Lowes rode an intelligent race to second place in the 10-lap sprint race. Grip was at even more of a premium for Race 2, with a number of riders caught out by the increasingly unpredictable track, but Lowes again rode to the limit dictated by the conditions, to round out his weekend with another points scoring finish in fourth place. The results mean that Lowes remains fourth in the championship standings with 164 points, but with the gap to his teammate in third now just 24 points.
It proved a frustrating day for GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Sandro Cortese, with crashes in both races while running close to the front. The reigning Supersport World Champion made the most of a front row start in the sprint race to initially challenge for the podium but was left disappointed after losing the front and crashing out of third place just after half race distance. Cortese was keen to make amends in Race 2 but, again, the GRT Yamaha rider was caught out by the tricky conditions in the early stages and crashed while running with the lead group. Cortese managed to rejoin and salvage a single point in 15th place at the chequered flag.
Marco Melandri rode an impressive sprint race, which he started from 19th on the grid as a result of a penalty imposed after Race 2 in Jerez. The veteran Italian picked up places on every lap to eventually finish sixth and claim a second row start for Race 2. Unfortunately, Melandri was unable to capitalise on this due to a crash on lap 13 while challenging for the podium positions. The GRT Yamaha rider remounted but finished outside the points in 16th place.
Loris Baz continued his familiarization with the Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK R1 today, but with hot and sunny conditions replacing the torrential rain of yesterday, the Frenchman was unable to replicate his top five finish in Race 1 today. 12th in the sprint race this morning, Baz rounded out his Misano weekend with a points scoring 12th place finish again in Race 2 this afternoon.
Pata Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark returned to the Misano paddock today, following his heavy crash in FP2 on Friday. The Jerez race winner was sporting a plaster cast on his injured wrist but was able to confirm that further examination had revealed that the two ribs thought fractured on Friday were in fact just bruised. Van der Mark will undergo surgery at Rimini Hospital to plate his fractured right radius, after which a decision will be made in conjunction with his medical team as to when he will be fit to return to action.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK
“The weekend has been a pretty good one overall, marred only by the mistake yesterday when I was trying to win Race 1. I got caught out by new standing water, which was a bit unexpected at that point in the race, but I’ll learn from it. This morning was good, and I was expecting to be stronger this afternoon, but we struggled a bit with acceleration as the temperature rose and grip went down. We’d made some changes to the bike compared to Friday, but the worsening track condition made it difficult to assess whether these were an improvement or not. It was tough for everyone in the race today. I tried to pass Haslam a few times, but I didn’t feel comfortable on the front and couldn’t make the passes stick, so I had to settle for fourth in the end. Now it’s off to Donington, my home track, after a two-day test in Suzuka – I’m looking forward to it!”