Parkalgar Honda's quest to win the 2011 World Supersport Championship title got off to an encouraging successful start at Portimao as new rider Sam Lowes marked his debut with the fastest time in testing.
The Briton, who steps up to the international stage full-time following his title-winning British Supersport campaign, will front Parkalgar Honda's line-up this season in its bid to go one step further than 2009 and 2010 runner-up Eugene Laverty.
Though less experienced than his key title rivals, Lowes gave his reputation a significant boost as his lap on the first day – during one of only two dry weather sessions – ensured he would come out of the test with the fastest time overall.
Furthermore, Lowes proved similarly fast in wet conditions, suggesting he is primed to get amongst the front runners in 2011.
“For me the test has been awesome, very positive,” he said. “On the first day it was proper dry and we showed speed and consistency. We achieved that and the fastest lap of the entire test on very little time and with few changes to the bike - so the potential is enormous and that's the best thing I take away from here.
“In the full wet I was quickest and finding it comfortable. The third day was a bit of a write off as it was damp and we couldn't test anything but overall I am very happy.”
Even so, Lowes's didn't emerge from the week unscathed, a fall in the wet leaving him with a broken bone in his foot.
“Conditions were greasy and on an out-lap I was two foot wide and lost the rear. I came down hard on my right foot and I've broken a bone. I can ride no problem and went out again. I had a previous crash but it was small and I was unhurt.”