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Sam Lowes, Marc VDS Ducati ‘more competitive than anticipated’ ahead of WorldSBK debut

Gold & Goose

Sam Lowes is confident he can spring a surprise on his 2024 WorldSBK debut at Phillip Island this weekend after coming into the opening round of the season ‘more competitive than anticipated’.

The British rider joins twin brother Alex Lowes on the WorldSBK grid for the first time this weekend following his switch to the series from the Moto2 World Championship, where he was an 11-time race winner.

Riding a satellite Ducati Panigale V4 R prepared by Marc VDS Racing - also making its WorldSBK debut this weekend - Lowes has been a competitive addition to the field based on pre-season testing sessions, both in Europe and during the official one-day outing at the same Melbourne venue this week.


Sixth fastest in the morning, Lowes would end the test 11th quickest but only after focusing on race set-up, even going on to run a full 20 laps on one set of tyres. 

However, this won’t be necessary this weekend now due to a decision to introduce mandatory tyre stops mid-way through the 20-lap race to mitigate high wear from the new asphalt that has been laid down.

Either way, Lowes says he is pleasantly surprised with his performance thus far and though he anticipates he will need to learn plenty when racing gets underway, he feels he is in a better position than he expected to be coming into his debut.

“I’m really excited, it has been a nice pre-season. I am proud of this moment, it’s been a good job and a big thing for me to get here so I am really excited. 

“I had a lot to learn, many things to learn and still a lot to learn coming into the weekend with t he format, the set-up of the bike, the way to race the bike and it’ll be a different race in Australia, but I am positive, I feel I am more competitive than I anticipated.

“The bike is very good, so from the side of the team and the bike, I feel ready. From Sam Lowes’ side, I need a bit more time with the bike to feel like it’s my bike but when it’s testing you have time to think about the races, whereas the race weekends are more concentrated and focused.

“The first races, the format, the races are short and fast and close together, so the intensity of the races and just understanding how to battle with these guys on a Superbike. 

“I think we can look at it in a good way, I want to get into the season before making a big statement on my goals but I feel like I can be competitive and fight for top fives and the podium, then see where we are.”

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