Rookie Alex Lowes made an instant impression in Sunday's Suzuka 8 Hours, overtaking the likes of defending winner Takumi Takahashi to lead the opening race lap.

While the Musashi Honda soon re-passed the Yoshimura Suzuki rider, Lowes then lurked menacing on his rear wheel and retook the lead at the twelve minute mark.

The Englishman went on to pull a four-second advantage by the time he handed over to team-mate Takuya Tsuda, just before the end of the hour.

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Lowes' second stint was also impressive and the team remained in victory contention against Yamaha Factory Racing and TSR Honda until a mistake by Tsuda just before the halfway stage.

After lengthy repairs, the team - which also included BSB's Josh Waters - salvaged a fifth place finish.

"I really enjoyed my Suzuka experience a lot, but it was difficult race!" Lowes said. "We got a great start, and I had three really good stints so I think I can be proud of myself and it was nice to be so competitive with all the factory teams and GP riders.

"Leading for the first hour was also a great experience, coming into the home straight at the end of lap 1 to a packed and cheering grandstand felt amazing! We had some unfortunate problems during the race and it really should have been a podium at least, but the final result was still ok."

Lowes will now return to WSBK duty with the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team at Sepang this weekend.

"Thanks to Yoshimura for giving me the opportunity for my first ever endurance race, now I need to concentrate on the day job and getting back to WSBK in Sepang later this week!"