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Lowes sets benchmark with test dominance

19 February 2013

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Sam Lowes has marked himself as the rider to beat ahead of this weekend's opening round of the World Supersport Championship at Phillip Island after dominating pre-season testing at the same circuit.

The British rider, who will compete aboard the Yakhnich Yamaha in 2013 after two seasons with PTR Honda, topped three of the four sessions held at the Australian venue over two days, with only technical issues on day one scuppering a clean sweep.

Even so, having commanded a comfortable margin over the opposition in the morning, Lowes was pushed hard by reigning champion Kenan Sofuoglu in the afternoon, the Turk briefly nosing with 25mins to go courtesy of a 1min 33.384secs lap.

However, Lowes would go on to strike back with a session-topping time of 1min 33.076secs, already a full eight tenths faster than Joan Lascorz's lap record from 2010. It's a marker he will have the chance to officially beat when the curtain raiser gets underway later this week.

Behind Sofuoglu, his Mahi Kawasaki team-mate Fabien Foret made good grounds to go third, six tenths behind Lowes, while a late improvement was enough to see top rookie Michael van der Mark assume Honda honours in fourth place aboard his Pata-backed CBR600RR.

Getting reacquainted with the Kawasaki ZX-6R that took him to the runners-up spot in 2011, Intermoto's David Salom was up to fifth place by the end of the test, ahead of Gabor Talmacsi and Vladimir Leonov, the pair showing consistently impressive form over the course of the two days.

Similarly, Fabio Menghi lifted himself into the top ten once again aboard the VFT Yamaha, out-performing R6-counterpart Massimo Roccoli and Luca Scassa on the second of the Intermoto Kawasakis.

Outside the top ten, wild-card riders Josh Hook and Kevin Curtain were 11th and 15th quickest on the overall timesheets, while Kev Coghlan completed a solid debut for DMC Lorenzini Kawasaki to go 17th fastest.

Elsewhere, having been top five at the start of the test, ParkinGO MV Agusta's pace tailed off sharply as the two days wore on, Christian Iddon slipping to 19th, while Roberto Rolfo dropped from a high of fifth to an eventual 24th. Suffering a similar fate, Jack Kennedy's failure to go quicker in the final session saw him drop from tenth in the morning to 23rd overall.


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