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WorldSBK Jerez: Lowes making progress with front-end feel

In tenth place on the combined WorldSBK timesheets on day one Alex Lowes was not setting any records on Friday in Spain, but he was also close to the best riders in terms of sheer lap times.

He was, as he was in Australia before he left the opening round in the championship lead, working on setup on a championship-winning Kawasaki that is still new to him.

“I think the biggest challenge is going to be tyres in these kinds of temperatures, so in the afternoon session I just used the same tyres and tried to adapt the bike a little bit,” said Lowes of his gradual improvement across FP1 and FP2.


“We made a few small changes and rode until the end of the session. My pace was not too bad and I did my best laps at the end. That was quite good.”

Not all perfect so far either, it seems, but the direction of travel is upward. “I am not too confident on the front of the bike under the trail-braking phase. If we can improve that for tomorrow I think we will be not too bad. This afternoon’s session was better than this morning’s session and I think it was more relevant for temperature.

"I felt a bit more comfortable and that should be good with the races to be held in hotter conditions, later in the day. The track changes too (as the temperature changes through the day) so you may be trying to improve your riding style so you have to be really careful not to go in the wrong direction. But I think I have a good plan for Saturday.”

If the temperature really does get up to 60 or more on the track surface, does Lowes think that the tyres will withstand the punishment? Like most of those canvassed, yes was the answer.

“I think they can handle it but the pace will be slow,” said Lowes. “The bike is going to be moving a lot and it is going to be about managing who can be consistent and keep a good pace for the second part of the race. It is not going to be a big war and genuine pace, it is who can manage it for the second part of the race. The tyres should last, it is just about what kind of pace we are going to do.”

Lowes left Australia with an unexpected championship lead, but it has not changed his approach to this round, particularly as he is so new to the Kawasaki.

“I have been just missing racing,” said Lowes. “It would have been nice to have a race right after Phillip Island because we had such a good race there. But I am still learning the bike. In these extreme temperatures this is the first real day I have been riding it.

"Montmelo test was quite warm but here is a lot warmer. I know I am leading he championship but I still have a lot to learn which is why today it was important to try some things on the bike. Leading the championship only matters at the end of the year, not after the first race.”

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