At his home round and second meeting standing in for the injured Jonathan Rea, Alex Lowes was unable to finish a World Superbike race at Silverstone this weekend. The young SHARK-rider started each of the 18-lap races in 18th position on the grid, but Lowes fell on the sixth lap in race one, and retired in race two after finding he could not be competitive enough on his spare bike.
Leicester-man and French born Sylvain Guintoli had a good weekend at his joint home-race finishing both races in a respectable sixth position. Brit Tom Sykes was unable to compete at the weekend following injuries he sustained to his ankle following a 124mph smash in free practice on Saturday.
In the Supersport race Fabien Foret triumphed in the British sunshine finishing in third position, his fifth podium of 2011. The SHARK-rider qualified in sixth place on the grid and finished 2.449 seconds from his first win of the season, in a race won by championship leader Chaz Davies. Fellow SHARK riders Gino Rea and Sam Lowes both fell during the intense race, Rea first collided with podium hopeful Lowes, and then worked his way back up the pack, only to crash trying to pass Foret. Rea remounted to take 11th place. After his collision with Rea, Lowes crashed out, rejoining for some time, but was eventually forced to retire with a damaged machine.
British 125cc Championship rider Lee Bob Jackson debuted in the European Junior Cup this weekend, his first time aboard a four-stroke machine. Jackson made his way up into second place during the race and eventually finished in fifth.
Meanwhile at Armoy on Saturday, Ryan Farquhar marked his return to the Irish National Road Races in a spectacular style. The SHARK-road racer took two wins, two seconds and two lap records from his five races, a DNF due to a holed radiator was the only thing holding him back from a 100% finishing record.
Alex Lowes, SBK – race one: DNF, race two: DNF: « Race one was going OK, even though I made a bad start. I made some passes on other riders, was really enjoying it. I went into one of the corners a little bit fast, and slowed down too much in the middle of the corner, then got on the gas too much on the exit, so it was really my fault. It was a big crash and I felt pretty beaten up. In race two I had not much confidence and feeling on the second bike. The team worked really well and in some parts of the weekend we were pretty fast, but at the end of the weekend crashing out never helps a lot. The team and bike deserve to be a lot higher up, but I am taking some positives away because we had some positives. »
Tom Sykes, SBK: DNS: « I woke up feeling like I had been run over by a bus and because we do not want to cause any further potential damage to my ankle we decided not to race. I also have a lot of pain and stiffness in my neck, back and shoulders. After qualifying on the fourth row because I could not make it into Superpole, I was not going to get anything too much out of this weekend, and the risk was a little too much. I do not want to speculate on my ankle injury until I see a specialist this week. »
Fabien Foret, WSS: third: « The bike was OK, obviously good enough to take a podium, and my team worked hard. We did not find the best base setting ever this weekend, but the bike was good. It was really good in some areas in others I was struggling a bit. I think maybe I took the wrong tactics, as I felt I could have gone out in front at one stage, but I decided to wait. Then, I could not change my rhythm again, making a few mistakes. At the end I could not make it and I am a little sorry not to perform better this race, even if the bike set-up was not as good as I would have liked. »
Gino Rea, WSS: 11th: « Fabien went in pretty tight into a left hander at the end and I just went in a bit wide to get underneath him on the right, and the front just tucked. It was a weird crash, but maybe the tyre had just gone off. I did not have the same feeling from the bike after Sam hit me from behind, so maybe it had buckled the rear wheel a bit and it made the bike react differently, making me run on after lots of backing-in. I lost loads of time and it was frustrating just to have to re-pass people and try to catch up to the front guys. I’m a bit disappointed in myself so I feel sorry for the team and we could have had a strong result. Had I not run off twice we could have definitely been on the podium. »
Sam Lowes, WSS: DNF: « I have to apologise to everyone for the non finish, my team especially, and the fans out there. From the pace the race was run at I know I could have done a good job, but that is all ifs and buts and you do not get anything for that. Congratulations to Chaz on his win, but we are really disappointed. I just made a mistake and that is racing. »
Ryan Farquhar: « Everything’s been spot-on today and with the exception of the main race, I’ve had a really good day’s racing. I managed to get the 600 going again although I found that the filter in the fuel pump was blocked so that was holding me back a bit in practice but the bike was a lot better in the race. Michael Dunlop was flying and away with it so I had a good dice with Michael Pearson and managed to pull away from him towards the end. It was a similar story in the Open race and although I led on a couple of occasions, Michael was setting a fast pace and I had to let him go. The bike was running a bit rich and although I don’t think I could have beaten him, I think it would have been a bit closer had it not been for that. »
« Instead, I had my hands full with Pearson again and whilst I was quicker in some parts, he kept getting by me on the brakes into Armoy village which subsequently held me up a bit as it was hard to find a way by in the section after that. However, I managed to put in a decent pass on him to take another second and followed that up with a good win on the 450. The main race was going well until the radiator got holed and even though we had stainless steel mesh covering it, the stone that got kicked up still put a big hole in it and that was the end of the race for me. I was disappointed not to finish but I ended the day with a win and a lap record in the Supertwins race so I’m happy enough. The break has done me good and I feel like I’m riding as well as ever, which could be seen in the speeds as the lap records were broken in every class. I’m just focussing on enjoying my racing now and that’s exactly how this weekend has been so I’m really looking forward to more of the same next time out. »