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MotoGP Valencia #2: Lowes 'not changing too much' in quest for Moto2 title

Sam Lowes returns to Valencia this weekend with just two races, and a couple of strong competitors, standing between him and the Moto2 World Championship.

But with an ever-increasing global pandemic still to contend with - and rumours of more riders and paddock staff being affected - the 30-year-old Brit is trying to keep his 2020 race routine as normal, relaxed and consistent as he possibly can, even with twin-brother, Alex, along for the ride.

“It’s been nice this week. I know some people did go home but we weren’t meant to and Carmelo shut his golf course to the public, made sure everyone there was tested and then opened it up for the paddock to go so we could still stay in the bubble. That was really cool actually, I have to say thank you to him,” Lowes told bikesportnews.com this afternoon.


“I love golf anyway so it was nice for me to have a bit of down time with the boys. It was good fun, Alex beat me but apart from that it was alright.

“It’s a strange year, with Covid and everything else, the protocols are quite simple, not everyone does the same thing and not everyone gets the same situation. I think false positives can happen, I’ve heard that a few times actually over the tests in the paddock but obviously if he [Rossi] can race this weekend then good, last weekend he did two negatives. I did hear also about Spanish television, some of them won’t be here because they have some positive tests so it’s a strange time.

“You just have to try and stay in your group, in theory everyone inside the bubble is negative, especially these days I‘ve not seen anyone outside that bubble and then also going to Portugal we will travel together. You’ve just got to try and do your best, you can get lucky or unlucky. You could see 200 people and it not effect you, you could see one person and it will, so I do think there’s a bit of luck involved. Obviously nobody wants to get it and everyone is doing the best they can, you’ve just got to try and be as smart as you can.”

With the WorldSBK season already concluded and 2021 testing for Kawasaki scheduled at Jerez for the middle of next week, Lowes’ brother is on-hand for the final three races.

“Alex is really helpful for me, he’s going out on track telling me what parts I need to improve. Obviously we have the information from last week so we know a couple of sectors where we need to improve already, so he’ll go there tomorrow. Definitely at this time, towards the end of the year, when you’re fighting for the Championship or even fighting for good positions there is obviously more pressure around, so it’s nice to have him here and talk about stuff, it sort of takes the burden off a little bit as well.”

One of Lowes’ main focuses for 2020 has been his start procedure, with an improved consistency showing over the past few months, how does he feel it’s going?

“Fifty-fifty. Some of the starts are better, the one last weekend was not as good but it was a little bit different as turn one was tricky last week so I sacrificed a little bit the start, to be too careful maybe on the first corner but yeah I’m working on the starts and we’re improving. I don’t use the launch control now I do it more manually and we seem to be improving so we will continue with that this weekend.

“I’m not changing too much for the remaining two races. We’ve been fast and competitive for the majority of the races this year and also last weekend we were in a good position. It’s two races to go, it’s all to play for so I’m just trying to stay relaxed, work hard over each session throughout the weekend. This weekend looks a lot more stable than the last once so just do the job every day and enjoy the race.”

Last weekend’s constantly changing weather and track conditions was an issue across all classes regarding set up and tyre decisions but the added complication seems to have been removed for this weekend’s return with a warmer than expected and much more settled forecast predicted.


“It’s always a little bit of a different track, Valencia, a lot of the corners are tightening up on themselves, the last corner is a bit different to the rest of the track so we’re just missing a little bit of the balance. We definitely did a good job, we had good speed so the bike was working quite well, the gearing was a little bit short, I was revving the bike quite hard in some places and with the lack of grip the bike was a bit revvy in my hand which was difficult to manage. Definitely people had a lot worse settings than I did, so we’ve got to be happy with how it was.

“Also for the riding, you can work a bit more on the rhythm, understand what the pace is, what you can and can’t do when the weather is consistent. There were a lot of unknowns going into the race last week, what the pace was going to be, how the bike was going to react at the end.

“Now it’s a totally new weekend - I approach it as a new weekend - work hard tomorrow and try to progress the bike like we have done at a lot of other races. It is nicer when you can do that, obviously it’s not always the case but this weekend the forecast looks quite sound.

“I didn’t try the softer option Dunlop last weekend even thought in those conditions maybe the softer tyre could have helped but we went with that we knew. I might try it this weekend but I‘m not going to start on it tomorrow.


“It’s a softer option that some guys have tested at the start of the year when I was not riding so they have a little bit of information on it and given Valencia, to be honest the forecast is quite good this weekend but I remember last year it was really cold so, just having that softer option was a bit of safety. Normally for me, I prefer the harder one anyway but I probably will try it this weekend.

“We had two options with the gearing last weekend, we went with one and it ended up being okay, we’re going to start tomorrow with the other one because we learnt a bit from the race. Everybody was in the same boat, in the end the lap times were quite strong in the race.

“This year we’ve been lucky that our base setup has worked quite well at every circuit so we went with what we knew. We knew it wouldn’t be perfect but we knew it wouldn’t be terrible, it was a difficult situation with the lack of dry track time but it was the same for everybody and I’m sure this weekend we can fine tune a lot more things. In the end the race was good, I had good pace, I managed some good overtakes and obviously it was unfortunate for the crash, something a little bit strange but we’ll come back fighting this weekend.

I do know why, it was something a little bit out of my control, a small problem with how the gear engages. Sometimes it’s a bit different with the Marelli system and when I was into the corner the gear was engaged but then at some point it disengaged so obviously at that moment you have no real chance. It was something a little bit unfortunate, it can happen a little bit with this system but not too often but it just happened at the wrong time.

“I feel great, I felt great all weekend in all conditions, I was really relaxed in the race, Bezzecchi was setting a good pace and I was sat there, obviously coming off some good races I could be quite relaxed and confident so I was just sat there winding the laps down and feeling good, so it was a surprise.

“I was disappointed, obviously, to crash out of that position because it would have been nicer going into these last two races with a few more points but in the end we’re in the mix. I’ve got to take the positives, I’ve been strong in the last part of the season and there’s no reason why this weekend would be any different so I’m looking forward to it.

“For me the situation is exactly the same if you’re six or seven points in front or six or seven points behind, it’s exactly the same, unless it’s the last round of the year and we’re not there yet.

“I feel I’m in the same position as last week, if you can have a 25 point lead it can be different or if you’re 25 points behind but five, six, seven points is not a lot and I feel good.

“I’m just going to approach the weekend as every other weekend and try and win the race. Of course, towards the end of the race you have to see who you’re battling with, understand the situation and manage it the best you can given the championship is there but sat here today I can just say I’ll aim to do a good job on Friday, good job on Saturday and try and fight for the win on Sunday.”

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