A poor start to Sunday’s Moto2 race left Elf Marc VDS’ Sam Lowes on the back foot before a strong recovery saved seventh at Portimao.
Lowes was running 15th on the opening lap of the year’s opening intermediate class action, after a tough start from ninth saw him drop to the back of the points. Mid-race recovery allowed him to join the top ten before podium pace provided further momentum.
Setting his fastest lap of the race on lap 17, backing up his Friday feeling on used tyres, Lowes met the flag in seventh for nine championship points ahead of next weekend’s visit to Argentina.
The strong showing allowing the 32-year-old to rebuild his confidence in his first competitive battle since last summer’s injury.
“It was the Sachsenring last year when I last had a proper race, that’s a long time for a rider!” Lowes explained from Portugal. “I wasn’t that sharp in the first laps.
“I made a bad start and dropped back from ninth to eleventh. There were two crashes ahead and I lost quite a bit of time.
“I think the comeback was good. All my lap times were strong and I enjoyed passing some fast guys ahead. I can really take some positives from that.
“The shoulder feels a bit fatigued now, but there are no issues. I’m really happy. I know I can be a bit more relaxed on the first laps, be a bit sharper. I just need some results to build on.
“I had a really good test, and had a solid weekend here when I made no mistakes. That’s what we need this year. We don’t have to be the hottest property today; it’s more about building up to get to where we need to be. Now I can go to the next races and crack on.”