Tech 3 Yamaha team boss Hervé Poncharal has revealed that he wants Alex Lowes to deputise for the injured Bradley Smith for a third straight race at Aragon, something that will be decided in the next week.
Smith, injured in an unfortunate practice accident at the final round of the World Endurance Championship, had an operation on Wednesday, and although the procedure was deemed successful, Poncharal is certain he will not have recovered in time to ride at Aragon.
Thus, Poncharal is keen for Lowes, who has impressed throughout his two-race tenure, to continue in the team for a third outing, and believes it would be beneficial for both Tech 3, and the Englishman's Crescent Racing World Superbike outfit.
On Smith's condition, Poncharal told Crash.net
, “The update with Bradley is that right now there is no real update. All we can say is what happened. He had an operation on Wednesday. The operation went well. The surgeon is quite happy. He is working a lot with premier league footballers so he knows a lot about this kind of knee injury. He's already working on the leg.
“The only thing we can say now is Aragon is 100 percent impossible. We just wait. We have to have someone on the bike for Aragon that won't be Brad. I think through next week we will know more.
“The contract is YME [Yamaha Motor Europe]. They are the ones owning Alex's contract. For sure his priority and their priority is for him to race World Superbike. They are not here to help us.
“But because of what happened in Japan, because of the good relationship with Tsuji and they allowed us to use Alex for Silverstone and Misano. And Alex is very happy. He can make Aragon because after Misano there is Germany Superbike. The following week is Aragon MotoGP then after is France Superbike. So there is no clash of dates. It is possible.
“He has already confirmed to me, no, asked me strongly to enter Aragon. But it's not his decision. Tomorrow [Saturday] Eric de Seynes [YME Chief Operating Officer] has a meeting with the top guys from Japan so they will be talking. His wish and my wish is to try and race Aragon together. Before asking his boss I just wanted to hear what he was thinking. He might have said, 'I'll race the two and then I'll concentrate on World Superbike.”
On Friday Lowes had explained his feelings aboard a World Superbike machine after his debut MotoGP venture. The 25-year old tested his Pata Crescent R1 at Magny-Cours on Monday, and said it was the best he had felt aboard the bike to date.
Lowes put than mainly down to his time on the M1, and feels he learnt many things with regards to adapting his style. Poncharal went on to convey the 2013 British Superbike champion's desire to continue this learning process at Aragon.
“For me, on the Monday after Silverstone he went to Magny Cours. He never had that feeling. He said, what I learned in terms of electronics has helped me so much in terms of riding, and in terms of giving technical feedback to the team.
“Also I can compare the electronics, which is the main problem apparently with their bike at the moment. So we'll see. I hope we can convince everyone to keep him for one more race. It's very important for him because we could see at Silverstone he had a lot of pressure. Also the weather was not helping.
“He did very well I believe, but for him he is not happy. He thinks he could not really show his real potential and I understand. Here the weather will be more stable over the three days so we don't have to cope with rain, light rain, wet, dry, and he feels much better on the bike.
“Today I was quite happy to see him on the bike. You already see how much he has improved. He feels much more comfortable on the bike. He feels more at home, compared to Silverstone, where he appeared a bit more lost on the MotoGP bike compared to the other riders.
“It would be a dream for him. We would be very happy to give him the opportunity to do the third race. After two you know more than one. After three you know more than two. It's easy to understand. I am clearly seeing that any motorcycle rider – road racing guys – want to be in MotoGP.
“He knows he has a contract for next year. He will fulfil his contract. He is happy to have a contract with official Yamaha in Superbike. If he can do some OK results here, that will maybe help him for '18. If we can give him the chance we will.”
On Lowes' performances to date, Poncharal added, “I didn't know what to expect, honestly. I knew he was fast on the Superbike. I knew from Pol how they had been riding for the 8 Hours. But this is a different bike, a different championship. You don't have to push 100 percent. They told me they were pushing the first two hours and then trying to manage the gap, and just finish the race.
“It's a different exercise to pushing for a whole 25-lap race. OK, we had a very short test in Czech Republic. It was almost a poisoned present let's say. Since then he's really impressed all of us. For me, I can say it because I want to be honest, he's doing much better than I was expecting him.
“I think the whole team has the same opinion. You never know coming from Superbike. For every this is the discussion we will have. I was talking to his manager Neil Hodgson earlier. He thinks we should give more opportunities to World Superbike guys, especially because he's managing one of them. In this paddock we are more inclined to give the chance to Moto2 guys.”