Parkalgar Honda team boss Simon Buckmaster insists a lack of straight line speed was not to blame for Sam Lowes being beaten to victory in the opening round of the 2011 World Supersport Championship at Phillip Island.
Despite exiting the final bend of the Australian circuit in the lead, Lowes was out-dragged by Luca Scassa and Broc Parkes before the finish line as they capitalised on a tow down the lengthy straight.
Though commentators have put this down to a power differential between the PTR Honda machine and its factory supported Yamaha and Kawasaki rivals, Buckmaster suggests a different gearing map that gave Lowes an advantage through the slower sections left him a little vulnerable on the straights.
Even so, Buckmaster is refusing to be downbeat about the result as he expects a 'different story' at Donington Park.
“You will all have seen the race by now and an outstanding performance by Sam to get on the podium in his first race WSS race for us,” he said in his 'Simon says…' blog. “Now I know some people have said our bike was down on power and I must admit the Yamaha did have a slight top end advantage on us. The Kawasaki seemed to be just about equal.
“Over the whole lap we were right on the pace. Both Sam and I think that he could have broken clear earlier when he caught the then leader Salom. He opted to stay behind him to look after his tyres as this was the first time he had run at the front in WSS. This allowed Parkes and Scassa to catch up again and lead to the final lap show down you all saw.
“Just to give you all more of an inside view; gearing plays a big part around Philip Island and with a head wind on race day our bike was not revving out in top. Both Yamaha and Kawasaki have more gear options than us so they had an advantage there. We could not have changed the overall gearing as the ratios for the corners would then have been too short in places.
“Also with more experience with our traction control system Sam would have trimmed some off as the tyre wore - it may have been holding him back a little - especially onto the start finish straight. I think you will see a different story at Donington and the other races this year.”
During the race, Lowes posted a top speed of 270km/h, compared to Scassa on 276km/h and Parkes on 274km/h