Completely restored Parkalgar Honda ace Sam Lowes was determined to go for glory at the World Supersport Championship fifth round in San Marino on Sunday.
The 20-year-old Algarve-based Englishman has been prevented from fulfilling his full potential by a series of setbacks, the latest of which saw him break a collar bone at Assen in mid-April.
“I am back to full fitness and cannot wait to get racing again,” Lowes said going into qualifying over the weekend.
“I have learnt a lot in the first four races and want to use that to challenge for the win at Misano. The Parkalgar Honda is good enough and so am I, so it is full gas, I will be ‘On It’ this weekend.”
True to his word, Lowes took advantage of the dry conditions during the first qualifying session to grab a provisional pole position, the first ever of his short Supersport career, which was then never in danger of being bettered as the rains came.
The same could not be said of team mate Miguel Praia, who was unable to improve on his lowly 21st position on the grid.
By Sunday afternoon Lowes’ favoured dry conditions had returned but despite his best possible starting place the Parkalgar man appeared a little out of touch during the early laps.
When he did start racing in earnest he sliced through the field, finishing a fighting third just under three seconds behind winner and new championship leader Broc Parkes.
Sister team Bogdanka PTR Honda’s James Ellison took a respectacle seventh place while Praia improved into 12th.
“You can never be disappointed with a podium, but I felt the bike was capable of winning,” Lowes said afterwards. “I struggled a little bit at the start and got boxed in.”
Now in seventh place in the overall standings, it is unlikely that the young Englishman will make up the 42 points which separate him from the leader by the time Portimão comes around.
But both man and machine have shown that they are more than up to this class and given a little more experience must be counted amongst the absolute title favourites next season.