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Lowes says confidence "slowly coming back" in WSBK

Kawasaki rider Alex Lowes feels he is slowly regaining confidence in the World Superbike Championship this year after a troubled 2021 campaign riddled by injuries.

Alex Lowes, Kawasaki Racing Team WSBK

Lowes’ second season with Kawasaki in 2021 ended prematurely due to a spate of crashes, with the British rider injuring his wrist at Barcelona and then suffering another incident on his comeback at the new Mandalika circuit.

It contributed to Kawasaki slipping to third place in the manufacturers’ standings last year after its run of six world titles, despite both Yamaha and Ducati having relatively inexperienced ‘number two’ riders in their respective line-ups.

Since making a full recovery from his injuries over the winter, Lowes has been consistently challenging for top-five results this year, finishing fourth in the final Estoril race last month behind teammate Jonathan Rea, Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista and Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu.

While still chasing a first podium of the season as the top three riders in WSBK continue to operate in a different class to the rest of the field, Lowes has been encouraged by how he’s been able to race regularly behind the usual podium runners in 2022 so far.

“Last year was so hard, I was injured all year and I never felt good on the bike even if I had some good races and stuff,” said the 31-year-old, who won on his debut weekend with Kawasaki back in 2020 at Phillip Island.

“This winter I felt a lot better. My confidence is slowly coming back, I’ve been working hard with the team. 

“Especially races like the [Superpole race at Estoril], where I was 10th or 11th in practice, not to make a mistake, and to accept the position I’m in, build my confidence, so when I can arrive to battle with the [top] guys consistently, I’ve got the foundations to do it all the time, not just one race. 

“I know I can go fast, I’ve always been able to go fast. That’s what we’re working on and it feels like it’s coming on quite well. It’s harder now [because] everyone is closer in Superbike now."

Alex Lowes, Kawasaki Racing Team WSBK

Alex Lowes, Kawasaki Racing Team WSBK

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Lowes sits seventh in the championship after the opening three rounds of the season on 54 points, just six points adrift of his Ducati counterpart Michael Ruben Rinaldi but 20 points behind Yamaha’s second rider Andrea Locatelli.

However, Lowes feels his championship position is heavily skewed by a double retirement at Assen due to technical problems, with a crash in the opening Aragon race also not helping his cause.

“The start of the season looks worse [than it is], if you take out the two DNFs at Assen, I’ve been pretty consistent all year,” he said.

“The base setting we had from the winter and the first two rounds didn’t work here [at Estoril], but it’s a strange track, it’s tight and you need the bike a bit more ‘on the nose’ to turn. Once we got that worked out, the bike’s been feeling good.“

Lowes’ upturn in performance has put Kawasaki just four points behind Ducati in the manufacturers’ standings, with Yamaha a distant third in the championship after a winless start to the season.

Teammate Jonathan Rea is locked in a tight battle with Bautista and reigning champion Razgatlioglu in the riders' championship, sitting second between the two on 144 points compared to 161 for Bautista and 109 for Razgatlioglu.

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