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LOWES ON PODIUM IN DEBUT SEASON OPENER

Lowes celebrating his debut race in third position

Lowes celebrating his debut race in third position

During a thrilling weekend of racing, SHARK-protected Sam Lowes came within 0.033 seconds of winning his debut World Supersport race finishing on the podium in third place. After 21 frantic laps of the Phillip Island circuit, Lowes led out of the final corner and was in a handlebar-to-handlebar battle to the line with Luca Scassa and Broc Parkes – just loosing out to Scassa and Parkes in the final seconds. Lowes was never lower than fourth position and has firmly made his mark on the championship for the forthcoming season. Fellow SHARK-protected Gino Rea fell heavily during the opening practice session leaving him with torn tendons in his thumb. Rea will have surgery this week to correct the damage but with an estimated 40 day recover period he may miss the second round of the championship.

In the World Superbike Championship, Tom Sykes had a great start to the season finishing eight and ninth. After a positive qualifying session which left him third fastest on combined times, SHARK-supported Sykes eventually slotted himself on row three of the grid for the two races.

Fellow SHARK-rider Sylvain Guintoli had an impressive start in qualifying ending up on the front row of the grid. After suffering a bad start Guintoli battled his way up to tenth place after falling back to 18th. However his progress was halted on lap six when he crashed at the final corner, due to his injuries the French-rider was forced to sit out of the second race. Guintoli now has a month to rest and prepare for the second round at Donington.

Fabien Foret endured a tough start his 2011 campaign, crashing out during a wet-warm up lap, Foret sustaining injuries to his left hand and a fractured L3 vertebra. SHARK-protected Foret opted to start the race and was in contention in the early stages, however on lap 16 he was forced to retire from sixth place when his rear tyre went flat.

Redding during the eight hour endurance Honda 50 race

Redding during the eight hour endurance Honda 50 race

The second round of the World Superbike Championship is in four weeks time at the European round at Donington Park.

Meanwhile, SHARK-supported Scott Redding and Jeremy McWilliams were in action over the weekend at Irelands Mondello Park. The County Kildare circuit was hosting its second charity eight hour endurance Honda 50 race. Redding went onto record a new lap record of 1 minute 26 seconds. Amazingly he was also the only one to be able to get his knee down! Scott’s Moto2 season starts in three weeks time from the Losail Circuit in Qatar.

Sam Lowes, World Supersport – third:

Lowes leading the race during the final lap of WSS

Lowes leading the race during the final lap of WSS

“I was fast going into the final corner, but slow coming out. I think if had come out of the final corner behind Scassa I would not have been able to pass him before the line. The only way to win was to pass him into turn nine and then push hard, and it nearly worked. I am satisfied to make my mark in the class at the start and it is a confidence booster for me to finish on the podium. I have massive boots to fill with Eugene Laverty having been in this team and the squad are used to winning and being up there, so I have no excuses. I have already learned that is a long season and any top five in this race would have been a result at this stage.”

Tom Sykes, World Superbike – eight and ninth:

Sykes onboard his Kawasaki ZR10-R

Sykes onboard his Kawasaki ZR10-R

« I’m happy to be eighth in the championship after the first round as you only have to look at the timing sheets to realise there is a real quality field out there. Less than a second covers something like the first 20 riders in qualifying, so it is quite pleasing in many ways to have been in there. I am a racer and I want to progress quickly but this is the first year with the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and I am sure we can make even more progress very soon. Everybody in my garage is keen to win, that is what this whole project is about, but it is early days. »

Fabien Foret, World Superbike – DNF

“When I saw my fingers after the warm-up crash this morning, I thought my weekend was over. But I got patched up and thought I’d jump on the bike and get some points. Then my back was hurting so I went back to the medical centre and asked them to x-ray it and that’s when they discovered the fracture. They said it was up to me whether I rode or not so I decided to try. I was pretty stiff on the bike and made some mistakes changing the way I rode, like braking with four fingers. I was OK for a while but started to get tired and I got some arm pump because of how I was riding. I felt the tyre dropping but I was surprised how fast it was going off and turned up the traction control to stop it spinning. I just tried to stay on the bike and finish the race. Tomorrow I’ll have surgery on my finger because the tendon is cracked and I need a skin graft, too. The back just needs rest.”

Phillip Island, Supersport (21 laps):

1 / L. Scassa
2 / B. Parkes
3 / S. Lowes (SHARK)
4 / D. Salom
5 / R. Harms
6 / J. Ellison
7 / F. Marino
8 / V. Iannuzzo
9 / A. Lundh
10 / D. Dell’omo

World Supersport Championship Positions:

1 / L. Scassa 25
2 / B. Parkes 20
3 / S. Lowes (SHARK) 16
4 / D. Salom 13
5 / R. Harms 11
6 / J. Ellison 10
7 / F. Marino 9
8 / V. Iannuzzo 8
9 / A. Lundh 7
10 / D. Dell’omo 6

Phillip Island, Superbike – Race One (22 laps):

1 / C. Checa
2 / M. Biaggi
3 / L. Haslam
4 / E. Laverty
5 / M. Melamdri
6 / M. Fabrizio
7 / J. Smrz
8 / T. Sykes (SHARK)
9 / N. Haga
10 / T. Corser

Phillip Island, Superbike – Race Two (22 laps):

1 / C. Checa
2 / M. Biaggi
3 / M. Melandri
4 / J. Rea
5 / L. Haslam
6 / L. Camier
7 / N. Haga
8 / M. Fabrizio
9 / T. Sykes (SHARK)
10 / R. Xaus

World Superbike Championship Positions:

1 / C. Checa 50
2 / M. Biaggi 40
3 / M. Melandri 27
4 / L. Haslam 27
5 / M. Fabrizio 18
6 / J. Rea 17
7 / N. Haga 16
8 / T. Sykes (SHARK) 15
9 / E. Laverty 14
10 / J. Smrz 14

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