Alex Lowes feels his #21 Yamaha Factory Racing Team’s gains in consistency with its race pace puts the team in a strong position to defend its Suzuka 8 Hours crown despite the lap record pace from Kawasaki on Friday.

#11 Kawasaki Team Green’s Jonathan Rea smashed the previous track record in qualifying practice with a 2m 05.168s – almost a full second quicker than old record – which sent out a message to the grid as the team targets its first win at the iconic endurance event since 1993.

With Lowes helping see his #21 Yamaha take second place in the provisional qualifying results, the British rider says his outright lap time attack was hampered due to traffic from other riders but is still content with his crews’ pace.

“We used the second qualifying session to try something for the race and we got some quite good information on that,” Lowes said. “It the night session I was quite strong plus the pit stops have been good so it has been a positive day.

“We spend the tests, practice and qualifying worrying about your lap times and how fast you can go but it is not a sprint race, it is about being consistently fast across all three riders for the eight hours which is what we’ll aim for on Sunday.

“We knew that some other guys would be fast this year and we know how good the Kawasaki bike is with decent riders on it. It is no different to World Superbike. So we know that we need to improve on last year and I believe we have improved and I also feel stronger.”

Watch Lowes’s full video diary from Friday at the 2018 Suzuka 8 Hours here:

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