Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes finished the opening day of WorldSBK free practice in 12th on the combined timesheet but had two top-five laps cancelled due to running over the wavy plastic bits at Imola’s Variante Basa.

The Derby rider’s performance is a lot better than it looks on paper as he is only three-tenths slower than team-mate Michael van der Mark in fourth and has equal pace over a distance, so Lowes has to get out of qualifying one without any mishaps like he had in free practice one when he crashed at Tosa.

“I was just cruising round and the next thing I knew I was on my arse. I’ve got a bit of whiplash and some bruising but I’ve dealt with that before. It was a shame as we lost a lot of the session,” said Lowes, speaking at bikesportnews.com at the track.

“The second and third sessions went quite well, the best I have ever done around here on the bike, and my pace was quite good. I had two good laps deleted, which would have put me fifth but I hit those bits of plastic at the last chicane, which don’t gain you any time, so the laps were good.

“It’s not as bad as it looks on paper but if you look at Chaz and Jonathan, we are in a different race. However, compared to Michael and some of the other guys we’re pretty strong. We will evolve what we were doing today in the morning, trying to get a little more acceleration off Piratella and down the hill, where we’re struggling a bit.”

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