Alex Lowes is assured he’s in a stronger position than the lap times from the final day of the Phillip Island test suggest having had his progress interrupted by “a bit of a strange crash”.

The Pata Yamaha rider has caught the eye throughout winter testing, closest challenger to Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea throughout the European-based tests at Jerez and Portimao, and once again finished second on the opening day of the Phillip Island test but this time to Alvaro Bautista on the factory Ducati.

But during the first session on the second day of the test at the Australian circuit, Lowes went down at Turn 1 – the same place Cal Crutchlow suffered a broken ankle at last year’s MotoGP round – and the Yamaha rider conceded he felt fortunate to get through unharmed.

With red flag stoppages, high winds and light rain limiting outright lap times Lowes ended the day in sixth place with a best lap of 1m 31.168s but the British rider is confident his true pace remains much stronger.

“The second day in Australia was interrupted by what was a bit of a strange crash at turn one, which I was lucky to walk away from but, overall, pre-season testing has gone really well,” Lowes said. “There are still a couple of areas in which we can improve but we're in a much better position going into this weekend than our lap times from the second test day would indicate.

“The feeling is quite good going into the first race, after the test here at Phillip Island. It's always a strange test here, as it's fairly easy to do one fast lap, but it's the last half of the race that is critical at this track, so we spent a lot of time at the test working to improve tyre endurance, trying not to work the rear tyre in particular too hard, with positive results.

“Now we just need to keep working, especially with the tyres, if we are to start the season with good results here in Australia.”

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