Sam Lowes heads to the opening round of the 2024 WorldSBK Championship in good shape after emerging as one of the leading independent contenders during pre-season testing at Jerez and Portimao.
The Englishman’s debut in WorldSBK is one of the big talking points heading to Round 1 of the season in three weeks’ time at Phillip Island following both his and Marc VDS Racing’s switch from Moto2.
Despite the learning curve, Lowes - who will share the track with twin brother Alex Lowes in Australia - has been in strong form in his first days aboard the Ducati Panigale V4 R, producing consistent top ten laps.
Though he’d ultimately end the Portimao test 11th after being bumped down late on by late flyers, he was top six after the first day. This places him among the top independent contenders already and the second quickest rookie behind factory Ducati rider Nicolo Bulega.
“These have been big learning days for me coming to a different track, a lot different to Jerez,” he told the WorldSBK website. “I was really happy, I felt a lot more comfortable on the bike.
I had a slight crash at Turn 10/11, I was spinning quite a lot through Turn 9, I closed the gas and the momentum sort of pushed me into the corner.
“This was a ‘Sam needs to learn about Superbike crashes’,” he continued smiling.
“I just need to anticipate it more and there was more spin than I am used to. I picked it up and rode it, so not a problem.”
“[But] I felt good on the bike and we were strong. Testing doesn’t mean anything when it comes to the first race, but I am a rookie so to have a good rhythm is good.”