Former British Superbike Champion and current Pata Yamaha World Superbike rider Alex Lowes got his first taste of MotoGP machinery today (22/08) at Brno during a one-day test for the World Championship.
It was announced during the Czech Grand Prix weekend that Lowes, twin brother of Moto2 race winner Sam, would be granted some time on the YZR-M1 Yamaha of Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro as a token of gratitude from the Japanese manufacturer for aiding them to victory in the Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race last month.
Lowes, along with Espargaro and former MotoGP podium finisher Katsuyuki Nakasuga, guided a YZF-R1 Superbike to a dominant victory at Suzuka, and the Briton currently sits 10th in the standings in WorldSBK after a difficult first season on the R1.
The Yamaha rider had to wait until the final hour before he could take to the Czech track and only completed 15 laps, but impressed nonetheless. He clocked a best lap of 1:59.558, improving his pace by over a second from his first to last lap. Unfortunately, Lowes crashed right at the end of the session but was unhurt in the incident.
Lowes, like all riders trying MotoGP machinery for the first time, noted that the M1’s ferocious power output as well as the bike’s stopping power and agility was like nothing he had ever experienced before.
The British rider will be back in action when WorldSBK 2016 resumes at the Lausitzring in Germany on the 16th September.
“Obviously this was one of the best days of my life! From when you’re a kid you dream about an opportunity to ride a MotoGP bike and it was fantastic. Obviously I didn’t do too many laps, but the feel of the bike was incredible. The power of the bike and the way that it turns was everything that I expected and even more than that, so it was an incredible experience.
“I have to say a massive thank you to Yamaha for giving me this opportunity, it’s a dream for me. Also a massive thank you to the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for giving me the opportunity as well and I’m so sorry for the crashes, but honestly I really enjoyed the experience and it’s a day I will remember for the rest of my life.
“The brakes and the tyres are quite a lot different from a WorldSBK bike, but the biggest difference is the power. When I came from my first lap onto the straight I felt the engine’s full power and it was amazing, I couldn’t believe how fast it was, so I would say the biggest difference is the power.
“The crash was on my last couple of laps, nearly at the end of the day and obviously the reason was because I tried to push a bit too much without understanding everything. I broke a bit more and lifted the rear a bit, went a little wide and the track was a bit dirty and I lost he front. It was only a small crash but I’m feeling really sorry for that. Honestly, it was a fantastic experience and I really enjoyed it, even if I did only 15 laps, it were the best 15 laps I ever had.
“The YZR-M1 is so nimble and agile, it’s a big step compared to what I have been used to. I have no experience of anything like this before and the way you go from one side to the other, it’s like you are on a cycle bike, it is really easy. So many things felt a lot better for me but were also difficult to understand in the time, but it’s been great.”