Alex Lowes left Oulton Park with a brace of third place results and a DNF as the Samsung Honda rider described the triple-header weekend as 'probably the hardest of the year'.

Lowes finished on the rostrum in Saturday's first race behind James Ellison and Shane Byrne but suffered final lap heartbreak after losing the front of his Fireblade at Lodge while holding third place.

He bounced back in the final race of the weekend to finish third again, guaranteeing his place in the top-six Showdown.

However, Lowes feels his rivals had the edge in performance at Oulton, improving since the previous round at the Cheshire circuit in May, while his own team's progress had 'stood still'.

"It's been a hard weekend, probably the hardest of the year - we have stood still since we raced here back in May and the rest have got a bit better and I'm not as competitive as I want to be," said Lowes.

"I've given everything in these races and really do not have a lot to show for it. Even so I've qualified for the Showdown and I enjoyed that last race and hope that it is a sign of things to come when we get into the actual Showdown."

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