You never forget your first time and Alex Lowes will clearly never forget his 15 laps on the M1. The SBK rider enjoyed a brief test on the Yamaha MotoGP of team Tech3 as a prize for having won the Suzuka 8 Hours.
The Brit went out on track during the last hour and didn't do at all badly. He hadn't ridden at the Czech track for a long while and 15 laps are not enough to get to grips with a prototype, but finishing a little over 4 seconds from Lorenzo was a good result.
"Obviously this was one of the best days of my life! - he says - From when you‘re a kid you dream about an opportunity to ride a MotoGP bike and it was fantastic. Obviously I didn‘t do too many laps, but the feel of the bike was incredible. The power of the bike and the way that it turns was everything that I expected and even more than that, so it was an incredible experience."
The difference between the R1 and M1 is more than just a letter.
"The brakes and the tyres are quite a lot different from a WorldSBK bike, but the biggest difference is the power - he confirms - when I came from my first lap onto the straight I felt the engine‘s full power and it was amazing, I couldn‘t believe how fast it was".
It wasn't just the horsepower that struck him.
“The YZR-M1 is so nimble and agile, it's a big step compared to what I have been used to. I have no experience of anything like this before and the way you go from one side to the other, it‘s like you are on a bicycle, it is really easy."
There was a small setback though, a crash just before he came back to the pits.
“I‘m so sorry for the crash, but honestly I really enjoyed the experience and it‘s a day I will remember for the rest of my life. The crash took place towards the end of the day and obviously the reason was because I tried to push a bit too much without understanding everything. I braked a bit more and lifted the rear a bit, went a little wide and the track was a bit dirty and I lost the front. It was only a small crash but I‘m really about it. Honestly, it was a fantastic experience and I really enjoyed it, even if I did only 15 laps, they were the best 15 laps I've ever ridden."
The video below summarises Alex's day.