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Jerez WorldSBK test: Lowes makes progress with setup despite rain

As a new works Kawasaki WorldSBK rider in 2020 Alex Lowes has had a few things to get used to after so many years as a Crescent Suzuki/Pata Yamaha rider, and a fully wet track is one of them.

The former BSB Champion and top three WorldSBK championship finisher last year got his chance in many levels of wetness on day one at the Jerez private tests.

“This is the first time I have ridden the bike in the wet, in Motorland Aragon we only rode in the damp on the slicks, which was a bit sketchy,” Lowes told bikesportnews.com.


“Honestly I felt very good with the bike in wet conditions, I felt immediately strong even though it was cold and had been catching a lot of people out. Made a couple of runs and some small changes and I felt some benefit. I am happy enough with that.

"The thing with the wet is that every time out on track it is different. Normally the more laps you do you get faster, if you get the right ‘window’ on track you can be fast, but this is more of a feeling thing and the feel was immediately there.

I was really impressed with the bike in the wet, which is good enough. When you get different wet conditions at different circuits with different grips it is important that you get the feeling straight away from the bike.

"I knew from watching the bike in the rain that it was going to be a good bike. I did some practice starts as well which are getting better and just some stuff to get used to as the bike is different.”

Dry or wet, bike set-up improvements count the same for Lowes, it appears, but some caution has to be exercised. “The changes you make to the bike are exactly the same,” he said. “It is just constantly working on the technique.

"Not really any meaning to do so many wet laps, keep riding around and I just feel like in the rain the more laps you do the more the track changes and you get a bit lost. You try a bit of set-up and go back out and it rains more and you get a bit lost, so I think if you have a setting you are comfortable with it is important to stick at that. Check it works if you have not tried it for a while or have a new bike and that is it, really.”

In the wet conditions Lowes had a specific ambition. “The biggest thing I was looking for was a bit of front end feeling and also a relationship between your throttle and the rear tyre with the traction control, or the chassis the way it is working,” he explained.

“It was good and we made a step. Made the bike a bit shorter and felt even bit better. I had a good relationship with it and tried a few TC settings.”

Lowes gave an insight into how a rider approaches wet riding compared to running in the dry. “Under braking obviously you are limited by the grip on the track so everything is 10 per cent less in the rain.

A little bit less aggressive on the transfer, a little bit less forcing the bike in, a little bit less back on the gas, so it makes everything a lot easier. It is hard to say in the wet but I believe it is down to the rider in wet conditions, not necessarily the bike.”

Lowes has spent some time in Spain recently, with his team and training on bikes to keep his fitness regime at a high level and complete important team bonding.


“We are working all the time, getting used to different languages, different people,” said Lowes. “I feel really calm and I have a new bike, with not that many laps but I feel calm and ready to go.

"I have been staying with the team in Spain recently and it has been good. All good fun and I enjoy training. I have been doing a bit of flat tracking with a couple of the guys, up at Rocco’s ranch, which is near the Catalunya track. And also with Rocky on the Supermoto track which has been good as well. I have been having good fun and working hard for the new season.”

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