Elf Marc VDS’ Sam Lowes claimed his 18th Moto2 pole position at the Sachsenring on Saturday and his first for 2022.
Lowes has been in the leading group across the German weekend as he worked on both one lap speed and race pace with his Kalex machine before setting the dominant lap, just a tenth shy of the outright record, on his sixth of ten revolutions around the 3.7km layout.
After a difficult run of form in recent races, the pole position, at a track he loves but finds challenging, brought confidence for the 31-year-old.
“I’m happy with this weekend because it’s a track that I really enjoy but I struggle to go real fast here,” Lowes admitted after the Parc Fermé celebrations. “I’ve had some nice races but to do that one lap you have to be so smooth and control well, especially the second sector.
“In qualifying we started with the harder tyre and did two laps,” he explained. “I felt I could also go quite fast with this tyre so that gave me some confidence. Then we put the main tyre in and we did a great step. I knew the first flying lap was the one to really push. I did a great lap and was actually surprised with the time. I’m really happy with it!
“We’ve worked really hard for the race pace this weekend and changed the bike a lot. I have to say thank you to the team. We’re in the mix and where we want to be every weekend. The last few races the potential has been quite good, we just haven’t made a good Sunday.
”We’re very satisfied with this result as it’s good to start near the front,” he elaborated. “For five or six laps a lot of people have similar pace, then the end will be more spread out. It will be a tight race between two or three people but I feel like, especially in the second half of the race, we’re in a stronger point. I can be confident, we need to be in the fight.”
With seven winners across the nine races so far this season, Moto2 is competitive across the board, so who does Lowes think are the biggest threats this weekend?
“I think Augusto [Fernandez] has been strong actually, this weekend,” the Brit said of his former teammate. “He’s been making a nice rhythm, especially after eight/nine laps he’s quite strong. So he’ll be there but this year is quite open.
“A lot of guys on Sunday do a good performance. I feel good. I feel like it’s one of my better weekends and we just needed to change a little bit momentum, get a bit of, I won’t say luck because in racing is not like that, but just to keep doing the job and hopefully we can turn it around and get the ball rolling. Obviously Assen next week, a track that I like as well.
“It’s true obviously the last races have not gone to plan but I don’t know, for me I’ll try to win the race or try to fight with the guys,’ Lowes confirmed. “Obviously is always the goal when you wake up Sunday in pole position, you have to fight.
“Now in my brain, for the championship or something like this, is obviously not there. So I feel like I just need to go out there, ride and get the momentum in a different way because I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve also been a little bit unlucky and sometimes in racing is like this.
“I’ve kept my head down, working hard and I’ll just go out and approach it as I always do and see what we can do.
“Is a strong class every season,’ he said of the intermediate series. “If you look also this year the guys that moved up [to MotoGP], I think Diggia today was qualifying on the second row? So I think it’s tight.
“For me is getting stronger, in different years is different situations but it’s good to have people like me that have been there a bit longer. Maybe it’s not good for me but it’s good to see where they are and the young guys coming up, obviously Pedro last year with being so good also this year already winning a race, it’s great.
“I don’t expect anyone to go up for next season. I think there’s some guys in there now that in the next two or three years will be I guess in MotoGP and fast but for me the level is still high.”