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Jerez WorldSBK test: Lowes gains confidence and pace with new parts

Finishing inside the top three WorldSBK riders in any test would be the expectation of a rider of Alex Lowes’ experience and ambition but the two-day Jerez outing on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week was much more than a chance to show his pure pace.

Also taking time to ride a bike with altered bodywork and unknown new parts or strategies for 2021 in its overall set-up on the final day, Lowes needed this test to get rid of some of the glitches in his 2020 set-up.

Unexpected feel and thus confidence issues sometimes compromised a season that started so well, with a race win on the opening weekend way back in March, but left him sixth in the championship fight.


“I have a year on the bike and obviously, apart from the start, it was difficult for me to keep the confidence with the machine consistently for the other races,” said Lowes after his Jerez test.

“We had a list of things we wanted to improve and then today with the introduction of the new 2021 parts, it helped me in some of the areas where I was struggling. This as a rider makes you really happy and today was really good.”

Lowes eventually went for a good time at the end of day two, with good but not quite ideal results. “I used race tyres all day until the second to last run. I tried a qualifying tyre but I did not do a very good job really on that tyre. Some of the improvements we made with the chassis, maybe with more grip, did not help me so much. We need to keep working to confirm the advantages of the new stuff.”

Chassis set-up improvements were the main thing for Lowes to feel happy about at Jerez. “I feel better stopping and turning the bike more than the speed. This is not a good track to really check. We did the test piece-by-piece.

"I tried some electronics stuff yesterday, a lot of things but nothing new, something Jonathan has been using. I made quite a good step and I continued to use that all day today and continued the good feeling. Then we tried this fairing this afternoon.

"We tried a lot; it has been a stop-start day but interesting. We know the strengths of the bike and how consistently good everywhere the Kawasaki is, but we really need to exploit a few areas, for me anyway, to really make a good step forward.”

Until Lowes and his final 2021 package gets inside and among more of his peers on a race weekend exactly how much the real race performance can be maintained every single weekend will be a question mark. After such a weird interrupted season getting to know the ZX-10RR in 2020, it seems so far, so good for Lowes, who knows consistency was the missing link.

“Last year I got on the bike and every test was good, the first race was good, then we had the pause,” explained Lowes. “During the season when you arrive at tracks with different weather conditions, for me anyway in my experience this year, I felt like I wasn’t ready. Even though I had six months on the bike, we two 40 minute sessions on a Friday in Barcelona with 50-60 degrees of track temperature, and I felt like I needed another two days to understand everything.”

Getting the bike to suit him and vice-versa should be the key to ensuring Lowes’ best possible performance level through every round in 2021. “The key thing for me this winter, going into my second year, is to keep my confidence,” said Lowes.

“I am as fast as anyone when my confidence is there, so I want to keep my confidence much more consistently. The guys who are going to be on new bikes, some may click straight away and some might take more time. It is always difficult to know.”

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