22 August 2016
'Incredible' - Alex Lowes talks MotoGP debut
"It was an incredible experience and a day I'll remember for the rest of my life" - Alex Lowes.
Yamaha World Superbike star Alex Lowes made a brief but eventful MotoGP debut during Monday's post-race test at Brno.
As a reward for his part in defending Yamaha's Suzuka 8 Hours crown, Lowes was handed the chance to ride Pol Espargaro's Tech 3 machine.
Taking to the Czech circuit during the final hour, Lowes made three runs, getting ever quicker until a 1m 59.558s on his 15th lap. The Englishman then fell, with ten minutes of track time remaining, bringing his impressive progress to a slightly early end.
Nevertheless, Lowes was already a respectable 4.164s from test leader Jorge Lorenzo and 2.606s from Espargaro, who completed 43 laps on the bike. Lowes, Espargaro and Katsuyuki Nakasuga were team-mates at Suzuka.
"It's obviously not ideal to crash, but I never know if I'll have another opportunity to ride this bike so I wanted to try and understand everything. And to understand, you have to push a little," said the 25-year-old, twin brother of Moto2 title contender Sam, who is stepping up to MotoGP with Aprilia next season.
"I really hope it's possible to try this bike again. Maybe some more laps. But if it's not possible, I'm really really grateful to Yamaha and Tech 3 for this. The Suzuka 8 Hour win was fantastic and this was a perfect gift.
"It was one of the best days of my life," he added. "From when you are a kid you dream about riding a MotoGP bike. I didn't make too many laps, but the feeling of the bike was incredible. The power, the way the bike turns was everything that I expected and more.
"The brakes and tyres are quite a lot different to what I'm used to and the nimbleness - when you go from one side to the other - it's like you are on a bicycle. But the biggest difference is the power. When I came onto the straight and went to full power it was amazing. I couldn't believe how fast it was.
"It was an incredible experience and a day I'll remember for the rest of my life."
Lowes explained that his Turn 3 fall occurred when he was caught out by the unfamiliar carbon brakes.
"The carbon brakes are a bit more grabby. It was my last couple of laps and I tried to push a bit much without understanding everything; used the brakes a bit more, lifted the rear a bit and went wide. The track was dirty and I just lost the front.
"But honestly, it was a fantastic experience. Even though it was only 15 laps, it was probably the best 15 laps I've ever had."
Sam Lowes will be taking part in his third MotoGP test for Aprilia at Misano this week.
Alex looks set to stay at Pata Yamaha in WorldSBK next season, alongside new signing Michael VD Mark, although neither deal has been officially confirmed.
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