as the Samsung Honda rider headed off the challenge from title rival Josh Brookes in free practice.
Lowes built on a recent test session at the Lincolnshire circuit throughout the day and after running third in the damp morning session which was led by his team-mate, the three times title winner Ryuichi Kiyonari, he turned on the speed in the dry lapping 0.201 seconds faster than his rival.
Lowes, bidding to improve his third place in the overall standings, said: “For a first day I am happy enough with the way things are going. We stayed out on track on the same tyres all session working towards the race. There is still a lot to work on but overall I really enjoyed it and am feeling pretty good.”
Josh Brookes, like Lowes and defending champion Shane Byrne already qualified for the title deciding Showdown races, worked extensively trialling setting on his Tyco Suzuki before putting a last lap flyer to close down his Honda rival.
Brookes, famous for his airbourne leaps over the Mountain section of track, said: “Overall that was not too bad today and everything is fine. We are already qualified for the Showdown so we could use this session to gauge the competition, testing ourselves against them and trying out various things on the bike. The bike is working good and I’m satisfied plus we have been able to give the crowd some air this afternoon at the Mountain.”
American PJ Jacobsen aboard the second Tyco Suzuki set the third best time, a tenth of a second up on the series leader Shane Byrne riding the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki. Japanese rider Kiyonari, who still needs to qualify for the Showdown, had a solid day in fifth place just ahead of Halsall Kawasaki’s Tommy Bridewell.
Milwaukee Yamaha’s James Ellison and Buildbase BMW rider Jon Kirkham, both needing points to make the Showdown, were marginally slower as Chris Walker on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki and Dan Linfoot on the Lloyds British GBmoto Honda completed the top ten.
Free practice one:
1: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) 1m:36.080s
2: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.490s
3: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.592s
4: Josh Waters (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.873s
5: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +1.369s
6: Keith Farmer (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +1.577s
Free practice two:
1: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 1m:27.613s
2: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.201s
3: PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +0.512s
4: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.605s
5: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +0.810s
6: Tommy Bridewell (Halsall Racing Kawasaki) +0.845s