WorldSBK has endured a fresh wind since the launch of the 2019 campaign three weeks ago in Australia. Four-time World Champion Jonathan Rea and the rest of the field have been left perplexed by the speed and dominance of MotoGP-convert Alvaro Bautista on the factory Ducati. The Superbike pack is again playing catch-up to another pacesetter: shod in red rather than the normal green.
Shining bright among the rabid chasing hoards is Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes. The Brit forged an important forward step in the intense heat of the Chang International Circuit last weekend for round two of thirteen by making the podium in all three outings of the new race format.
The 28 year old challenged Rea and bustled his way through the early laps of the second race on Sunday but opted for prudence in the sweltering humidity to establish a 3-3-3 scorecard. It was not only a ‘platform-making’ set of results for Lowes but also allowed him to claim brief bragging rights after defeating teammate Michael Van der Mark.
"I was really happy with Race 2 today,” he said. “I felt really good for 12 or 13 laps and I thought I might be able to challenge Johnny for second with the pace I had, but then I started struggling a bit near the end and had to roll off and take advantage of the gap to the group behind. Overall, it's been a great weekend, for me and for Michael. We've both done a really solid job for the team, but we need to continue working just as hard when we get back to Europe if we're to close the gap to the front two guys."
Now four years with the maturing Yamaha WorldSBK project, Lowes has been gaining speed and competitiveness over the course of the last two seasons and now faces the final barrier in the push to being a race winner. The haul of points so far in 2019 plant #22 third in the championship standings and with the prospect of the next six rounds taking place in Europe – Spain, Holland, Italy and Britain before heading to the USA in July – Lowes will be sniping for more silverware.