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Lowes bounces back to top Phillip Island test
18 February 2013 CLICK HERE
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Sam Lowes has ended the first official World Supersport Championship test of 2013 at Phillip Island with the fastest time, despite managing just 16 laps over the course of the day.
After two seasons with PTR Honda, Lowes switches to the Russian-backed Yakhnich Yamaha team in 2013, a move that has already yielded promising results during 'unofficial' outings.
Even so, Lowes found himself playing catch up as official testing got underway in Australia after failing to set a time during the entire AM session.
Nonetheless, having been one of a few WSS riders to test at Phillip Island last week, Lowes wasted no time in making amends in the afternoon to become the only rider to dip below 1min 34secs with a 1min 33.950secs lap.
Getting close to Joan Lascorz's lap record from 2010, Lowes was a comfortable two tenths faster than morning pace setter and reigning champion Kenan Sofuoglu on the Mahi Kawasaki, who completed 56 laps by comparison.
Complementing Lowes's performance, Vladimir Leonov confirmed Yakhnich Yamaha's strong pace by completing the day in third despite a session-ending crash minutes from the chequered flag.
Similarly impressive was Gabor Talmacsi, the former 125GP champion preparing for his first full season on the privateer Prorace Honda by proving competitive all day on the way to fourth overall.
Though edged for Honda honours by the Hungarian, rookie Michael van der Mark raised a few eyebrows in fifth place on the Pata Honda, ahead of Fabien Foret and local rider Josh Hook in sixth and seventh, while he was also well ahead of ex-WSBK team-mate Lorenzo Zanetti.
Behind him, Massimo Roccoli was one of the riders to make gains between the sessions to rise to eighth on his Pata by Martini Yamaha, ahead of Roberto Rolfo on the immediately rapid MV Agusta F3 and David Salom on the Intermoto Kawasaki.
Elsewhere, Christian Iddon on the second of the ParkinGO MV Agustas belied his lack of WSS experience with a solid 13th fastest, while fellow Briton Kev Coghlan made good gains to jump up to 17th place on the DMC Lorenzini Kawasaki.
Meanwhile, it was a tough start to the week for PTR Honda's five entries, Austrian racer David Linortner the team's quickest representative in 16th after lead rider Sheridan Morais missed much of the afternoon session because of a crash.