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Pata Yamaha Official #worldsbk Teams #alexlowes produced the ride of his season so far to secure his maiden podium for the team in race one at Donington Park, round six of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. The British rider put on a sensational comeback for the home fans after he was forced wide at the first corner, pulling off overtake after overtake to recover from 22nd place and cross the line in an incredible third. His teammate Michael van der Mark also rode superbly as he charged from 11th on the grid to secure a top five finish.
Lowes lives 10 minutes away from the Donington Park track and it was where he got his first taste of road #racing, therefore it was fitting that it was the scene for one of his best ever rides. Starting from fourth, another rider made contact with him heading into the first corner, forcing Lowes wide and almost off the track. The British rider was down in 22nd, right at the back of the field, but instead of letting the situation get the better of him, the 26-year-old got his head down and started picking off riders one by one.
On lap three he had made his way up to 18th, then he put the hammer down, lapping over a second quicker than the riders in front of him. His charge continued into the points having passed another three riders and Lowes was soon battling for the top ten. With four laps to go he moved up to sixth, then one lap later he passed his teammate for fifth. A rider ahead of him crashed out, promoting him to fourth and the podium was on. When he crossed the line to start the last lap Marco Melandri was 1.2s ahead of him in third, but Lowes somehow managed to bring this gap down to less than half a second in the first two sectors. Then a mistake from Melandri left the door open and Lowes blasted past to claim his first ever podium for the Pata Yamaha Official #worldsbk Team, crossing the line in third to top off a simply remarkable comeback and sending the home fans wild.
His teammate van der Mark got a solid start from 11th on the grid and immediately settled into a good rhythm. The Dutch rider was up to ninth by the end of the first lap and producing his usual consistent lap times, he also pulled off some stunning overtaking manoeuvres to fight his way through the pack. By lap eight he was in sixth and he started to hunt down Tati Mercado in fifth, eventually catching and passing him a few laps later. When his teammate Lowes came past him with three laps to go, he valiantly fought back, but eventually had to concede the position. Determined for the best result possible van der Mark managed to keep pushing right to the end, securing a hard-fought fifth position.
The 16 points Lowes collected now sees him fifth in the championship table with 110 points, closing the gap to Melandri in fourth to just 27 points, and he will start Sundays race two from seventh on the grid. Van der Mark's result delivered 11 championship points and sees the 23-year-old seventh in the championship standings with 89 points, having closed the gap to the rider in sixth to just one point. He will start race two from the middle of the front row.
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