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Alex Lowes keen to ride crest of his wave after topping Phillip Island WorldSBK practice

Gold & Goose

Alex Lowes feels his surprise appearance at the top of the timesheets on the first day of free practice for the opening round of the 2024 WorldSBK Championship at Phillip Island won’t be a fluke, adding he believes he and Kawasaki can be in the mix this weekend.

The British rider - who scored his one and only win as a Kawasaki rider at Phillip Island in 2020 - carried his strong form from pre-season testing to lead the way at the end of FP2 with a record-breaking lap of 1m 29.042s.

Coming on a day of blustery conditions that brought with it intermittent rainy spells, though the stop-start nature of the two practice sessions seemed to affect some of the better fancied contenders, Lowes was a strong player throughout the day.


Indeed, after just missing out on topping FP1 by a late flyer from Andrea Locatelli, Lowes came good in FP2 to give some joy to Kawasaki in its first event without six-time WorldSBK title-winning talisman Jonathan Rea since 2014.

“Honestly, it was good, we had some difficult conditions and not many laps,” said Lowes, who was also top five in Tuesday’s official pre-season test. 

“I didn’t expect to be as fast as I was,” he admitted. “Maybe with the SC2 tyre you can use it for one lap and then it was dropping a bit, so I am sure there are plenty of areas to improve. 

“But overall positive, we know this year there are so many fast guys in a tight space but if we can get a good qualifying then I think we can be in the mix and start the year strongly.

Looking ahead to the race weekend, Lowes is focused on carrying his single lap pace through to qualifying and believes he can benefit from a change to the race format that will see a mandatory pit-stop after 10 laps introduced for both full-length races.

“The weekend format has changed since the test so there is a different mentality and we’re looking for out-and-out performance and look after the tyre performance for 10 or 11 laps, rather than 22 lap, which means we can play with the bike and maybe have a more aggressive setting.

“We haven’t been racing with some of these guys - Sam, Bulega, Iannone - and we know how strong the Ducati is in a race, they always find a little bit more and end up being the guys at the front. 

“I’m looking forward to racing with them but I am strong, I’m fast and when the grip is there on the bike I feel I am as quick as anyone else.”

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