Lowes glad to put 2020 slump behind him with triple podium
Kawasaki rider Alex Lowes says he had a ‘big smile on his face’ after starting the 2021 World Superbike season with a triple podium finish at Aragon, following a largely disappointing 2020 campaign.
Lowes finished second, second and third respectively in the three races at the Spanish venue last weekend, and even battled with the BMW’s Michael van der Mark for victory in the second full-distance contest before both were passed by Ducati rider Scott Redding on slick tyres.
It puts the 30-year-old second in the championship behind teammate Jonathan Rea, and marks a massive turnaround in his fortunes after a largely frustrating 2020 season.
While Lowes started life at Kawasaki with a victory and a podium finish in Philip Island after leaving Yamaha during the previous winter, his results took a nosedive when the season resumed after a COVID-19-enforced shutdown in August.
The British rider wouldn’t stand on the podium again until the penultimate round of the season at Magny-Cours and eventually finished down in sixth in the championship with just over half the points of title-winning teammate Rea.
Lowes said he relished WSBK’s return to racing at Aragon after an extended off-season, and was encouraged by his results at a track where he had never finished higher than third during his seven seasons in WSBK.
“To be here, to be in a racing atmosphere, it's great," said Lowes. "Honestly, last year after the lockdown I didn’t feel too good on the bike.
“I struggled to really… ’motivated’ is not the correct word because every time you are on the bike you are motivated. But it wasn’t quite going well and I struggled to enjoy it as much, and it was a bit negative. Happy to be back, happy to be riding the bike well.
"That was a fun race battling with Michael. We chose the intermediate tyres, it was not the correct choice but [in] racing if you could look back we would all be world champions.
“But it felt quite good on the bike, I had a good bike at the end, played it a little with some settings to try to find a bit more grip and I was catching Jonny a little.
“Three podiums to start the year on a track that I think I’ve had only one podium in a sprint race with Yamaha [is impressive].”
Lowes went through a difficult patch in the middle part of last year and the third- and second-place finishes he secured at Magny-Cours were his only podium results of 2020 since the Australia season opener.
The Englishman says it is too early to say he has regained the consistency that he showed during his previous stint at Yamaha, but felt he was quick in all weather conditions at Aragon.
“It’s just one weekend, we need to wait for more weekends and see but yeah, it felt good on the bike, which helps,” said the two-time WSBK race winner. “If you are in control of the bike, you can manage the situation in the races a little bit better. "
"[In the Superpole Race] in the full wet, I felt good. In the dry, I felt really good and in the mixed conditions we did a good job. In all these conditions with the bike we understand what’s happening and this puts me in a good situation going forward.
“I really enjoyed it, have a big smile on my face and am happy to be back racing.”
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