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Jerez WorldSBK test: Lowes only making 'small changes'

Kawasaki new boy Alex Lowes found even greater reserves of capability on his 2020 machine at the Jerez WorldSBK test, partly because of the changeable conditions.

The former Yamaha man managed to improve his pace as the track dried and finished the test in fourth place overall despite a late crash which he brushed off.

“The final day was good. We made a small change today from yesterday’s information,” Lowes told bikesportnews.com. “We felt really good again, really strong.


“When the track was in ‘middle’ conditions I used the slick tyres quite early because we can have these sorts of conditions during a race. It never got fully dry but near the end, when it got nearly dry I felt good.

“We just tried a few small changes on the suspension. I am a lot more comfortable on the bike and I am happy we got the laps we put in on Thursday. I did a lot of practice starts because it is a different system from what I am used to.

“It was a positive day – apart from the end. When you arrive on a bike which has been so competitive it is already working in a good window so it is not so important to make some big changes.”

Lowes’ late fall saw him caught out by the weather, as many were at Jerez, and there was a narrow line even at the best of times, and also damp patches lurking in some areas.

“It was getting better and better but it did not really go away. Obviously these are not good conditions for testing but we are limited because at the start of the year everybody wants to do as many laps as they can.

“It was actually quite good for me because I was playing with things, for example, the buttons to change the settings on the maps are in a different position to what I am used to. So I used this time to try some new traction control settings, making sure I understand everything because next month, in a race, everything needs to feel comfortable.

“The bike gives me a lot of confidence and at one point I was quite a lot quicker. On the bike I feel it is easy for me to get some confidence. Even thought the track was quite damp I was able to understand the bike.

You can change your line quite a lot and the bike reacts quite well. Something I have not had in the past. This was something else that I learned today. If I didn’t ride in those conditions, I wouldn’t know that.

“In a race maybe we can have those conditions so it is good information for me. The bike works really well in braking and acceleration and we are making some good steps with the turning. For me the bike does nothing bad, which is nice. Lots of stuff well and nothing bad - so we can see it is a good package.”

Lowes has changed bikes before but this is his first team change since joining WorldSBK, and he said of all the changes before the first round in Australia, “I am looking forward to starting the race season. I have really enjoyed joining the team and being part of it.


“It is obviously a completely new experience for me but all the people are fantastic. Every time I am looking forward to coming to the track. The laps I have done on the bike I have really enjoyed and I have been pretty fast from the first test. In terms of the opening race, I don’t know what we can achieve, so I do not want to say we can win, be third, fifth, not sure… I will just go to PI, work hard in the test and then understand what my pace is. Then try to achieve this result.

“In Qatar try to be a bit better. Wherever I start it is important to be consistent, not make mistakes in the race and get lots of finishes. During the season, every time I grow and make a step I am confident.

“When I arrive when I am with Johnny I will have a lot more confidence. I have not had big pressure from the team; they are giving me a lot of support. I feel really welcome here. From the outside sometimes you worry a bit about this, but it has been really nice.”

At Jerez the signs of co-operation with Rea, his 2020 team-mate, were all there. Lowes sees a mutual benefit.


I spent four years with a different bike and sometimes over the years I did a lot of good races, so I have some experiences I can bring and try to improve this bike. The first goal is to be as competitive as possible.

“The team is working together and if we can make the bike better in this period of the year we try to work together and give us the best bike possible in PI. Then obviously when you arrive at the race you want to beat each other. But this is a long way away.

“For me with the relationship in the team it is important now to try to work together and improve the bike, if we can. We have a pretty good relationship. I have a lot of respect for him. He is a five-time World Champion and I am sure there are many things I can learn from him. But not just from him, from the team.

“The team has won with other riders and they have a lot of experience so they can give me a lot of good information as well. I am trying to learn as much as I can. Working with Johnny I think is the correct thing to try to do now. If I can help him help us, and we are in front of the other guys, for everyone in the team that is our target, obviously.”

Lowes’ current list of likely top end rivals is predictable in some regards, even with some changes to the men and metal line-ups.

“We know that Yamaha, Ducati the new Honda looks fast – everyone is going to be fast,” he admitted. “I try not to worry too much about them, I have enough to do to focus on what I am doing. But we expect that everybody will make a step forward and all will be strong.

“I think when it comes to race time it will be the normal guys in the front… Johnny, Chaz; you have to believe Bautista will be strong as the bike looks good. The Yamaha guys look like they will have an interesting battle.”

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