Monster Yamaha Tech3 stand-in Alex Lowes rode to 13th place on his MotoGP debut in Sunday's British Grand Prix.

Called up in place of injured countryman Bradley Smith, the Yamaha World Superbike star qualified 16th in the wet and, after losing a place on the restart, moved back up the order to finish 40-seconds from race winner Maverick Vinales.

While he relished his time on the M1 at Silverstone and enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the home fans, Lowes felt his lack of experience on the machine meant he was only at "70-75% of how I would ride a World Superbike race, where I'm aggressive, know what's going on and can think about the tyres".

As such, he's aiming to get closer to Tech 3 regular Pol Espargaro in this weekend's Misano round.

But back to Silverstone, where on Sunday he was not only racing a MotoGP machine for the first time, but riding with full fuel at the beginning and worn tyres at the end of the 19 laps.

"Honestly I didn't feel very good," Lowes declared. "I struggled a bit. It was the first time I used the full fuel tank. I locked the front on the brakes just in a straight-line two or three times early on in the race. That sort of really put me off a bit.

"I really struggled to find some confidence in the middle part of the race. And then at the end I was trying to understand how to ride when the tyre was worn, because it was the first time obviously I had done a race distance.

"I didn't feel good so I'm a bit negative, but at the end I took some points. That was my goal.

"I shouldn't be pissed off because how can I know what to expect in the first few laps? I've never tried the bike with a full fuel. So I shouldn't be mad at myself for not understanding it, but I'm a racer and I was a little bit.

"I didn't disgrace myself. I was 40 second from the top guys in the world.

"I'm learning every time. At Sepang you do 80 laps a day. I've probably not even done a three-day Sepang test yet. So it's quite normal that I'm still learning, but I want to do a bit better. I'm going to try to improve a lot for next week."

Espargaro was involved in the massive accident at Turn 3 of the initial race start, meaning Lowes was unable to compare his performance to anyone on the same package.

"It would have been interesting to see where Pol would have finished and how far... Obviously I don't expect to beat him here, that would be silly of me. But I don't know if he would have been 10 or 15 seconds in front of me, and then next week try and make that a lot closer. At the end of the day all I can do is keep working as hard as I can."

In terms of where to improve, the race highlighted some areas where Lowes needs to adjust his riding technique and riding position relative to the MotoGP regulars.

Lowes' best lap was 2.016s from winner Maverick Vinales and 1.6s from the top Yamaha lap by Valentino Rossi. However - runner-up Cal Crutchlow aside - Lowes was 0.7s from the fastest lap by the other satellite riders.

"I'm doing some lines that are just f**king wrong, basically!" he said. "I'm going in thinking; 'I shouldn't really be going this much faster than them at this point'. And there's other places where I've basically stopped and they're driving away from me. So I need to change how I ride the bike a bit.

"I've got a bit more understanding. I'm not quite sitting on the bike right, which is creating quite a lot of problems. But with the World Superbike you have to be off the bike a bit more and keep the bike upright because you can't run the same lean angle.

"During that race, I know it sounds really silly to say, but every lap there was one part after the complex where I was trying to sit in different positions just to see what difference it made. Obviously you shouldn't be doing that during the race but I needed to understand.

"In the end I was sitting more with my bum on the bike and it was turning a bit better, which I wouldn't really expect. I felt a bit nicer. So hopefully next week if I can start free practice one with a bit more of that understanding I can have a bit of a better opportunity to chip away at a better result.

"I genuinely love the bike. It's fantastic. Even this morning in the wet I was having a bit of a play with it. Honestly I really, really love the bike. I've dreamt about riding a MotoGP bike and it's everything I thought it would be. They're the best bikes in the world. I'm still someone that loves racing bikes.

"Honestly if you forget the result and the lap time, I love riding it."

Another major positive was the support he got from the British fans.

"It wasn't that long ago I was a person sitting in the grandstand cheering on my heroes or favourite riders. So it means a lot to me. It's really nice to have this opportunity if I never get another one to race a British Grand Prix. And I finished it, which for me is not bad."

By Peter McLaren


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I was definitely pleasantly surprised by Alex this weekend, especially after crashing in FP1.

Was great to see him live, slowly making progress in the race - going forwards not backwards was awesome to watch.