Alex Lowes was left to watch the final race of the 2023 WorldSBK Championship season from the sidelines after a nasty collision with Toprak Razgatlioglu in the Superpole Race left him with swelling to his face and stitches around his eyes.
The Englishman was looking to end a 2023 WorldSBK campaign hindered by injury woes on a high in Jerez, but while he started as he meant to go on by qualifying on the front row, he endured a troubled two race days.
After fading to seventh in race one, Lowes bullied himself up into the lead of Sunday’s Superpole Race on the Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10RR, only for it to be red flagged after two laps.
Though he attempted the same during the restart, he was slipping back when Razgatlioglu muscled his way through on him at Turn 1, Lowes clipping the rear wheel of the Yamaha ahead to bring him down.
Glancing the rear wheel with his head on the way down, a battered, bruised and frustrated Lowes was forced to sit out Race 2. Pointing the finger squarely at Razgatlioglu, though Lowes was full of praise for the Turkish rider for his performance in the final race, he was less complimentary about the aggressiveness.
“It’s a real shame to end the season this way. I had started morning warm-up today with a slight change on the front of the bike and it felt really good. It was strong, and even with a hard tyre we were really fast.
“I led the Superpole race before the red flag. I had made a good start, put in some good passes. I was also feeling good in the restarted Superpole race and obviously we were going to be challenging for the podium, because we were looking sharp.
“Toprak passed me into Turn One and I felt like it was a bad move from him. From the outside it doesn’t look like that, but the way he came in front of me and stopped he didn’t really give me anywhere to go. I am not going to complain about the move.
“I like the way he rides and Race Two was fantastic for the fans. Still, it is a shame about the fall and I was lucky to get away with it because the impact was big and I have some stitches around my eyes and quite a lot of swelling on my face.
“Thank you to all the team and all the crew, it has been a tough year for us but they have always given 100% for us every day, and I really appreciate that. Personally speaking, thank you very much to them. Sad to see Jonathan have his last races in green today but massive respect to him and all the best for the future.”
Lowes will enter into a fifth season with the Kawasaki Racing Team in 2024 alongside new team-mate Axel Bassani.