Bogdanka PTR Honda's Sam Lowes was heartened by his ride to fifth place in the opening round of the World Supersport Championship at Phillip Island after tyre fade stifled his progress in the closing stages.
Lowes led the race for the first four laps but in the end had to settle for fifth place on his CBR600RR in Australia, behind the Kawasaki pair of Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret, Ten Kate Honda's Broc Parkes and fellow PTR rider Jules Cluzel.
“It was a good race. I've started off well and had a really good pace but unfortunately the tyres dropped off in the end. I wanted to win the race but I'm happy with fifth and scoring some points,” said Lowes.
“It's a long championship and I'm looking forward to Imola now. Chaz Davies didn't score in the first race last year and still won the championship so it's not a bad start to the season.”
Bogdanka PTR Honda team manager Simon Buckmaster echoed Lowes' sentiments, adding: “Sam tried to manage the situation with his rear tyre as it went off towards the end. He did the best job he could and scored points on a difficult day. It is a long 13 round championship and we will be ready to challenge again at the front at Imola.”
Cluzel finished fourth on his debut in the class but despite his fantastic result, the former Moto2 race winner was disappointed after missing out on a rostrum result.
“I am disappointed as the podium was very close. The problem was chatter in corners two and six and I had to push more with my rear tyre to keep a fast lap,” said the French ace.
“Broc Parkes had more grip on his rear tyre and he passed me just before the last corner. Anyway, the team is happy and we will improve again for Imola.”
PTR rider and series rookie Martin Jessopp finished outside the points in 17th position despite running off the circuit to avoid a crash early in the race.