Catalunya WorldSBK test: Lowes smoothing out riding style| Gordon Ritchie | WorldSBK
Alex Lowes, the WorldSBK championship points leader after his stellar induction into the KRT team this season alongside five times champion Jonathan Rea, was fourth fastest on day one of testing at Catalunya.
Like Rea, this was his second Montmelo outing this year, but the opportunities presented for work at this one was a bit different from the first mini-test in Catalunya, to say the least.
“I like the track because it is such a nice layout, and good fun to ride,” said Lowes. “We rode here in January but we did not get the best weather so it has been nice to get here in beautiful sunshine and get to ride all day. I felt I really got my teeth into the track today. In January it was just understanding which way to go.”
Lowes was the first of the two current KRT riders to sign a contract extension during the Covid-19 shutdown, and knows he is in a good place for his career.
“I want to be the best I can and I am a great situation – not because my future is organised but because I am really enjoying being with the team and improving all the time. The team has won for the last five years and also before that with Tom (Sykes) and I am learning so much from them.
Every time I come to the track it is like going back to school. It is quite nice for me because I am getting old now so it is nice to feel young again and trying to improve myself.
“I am enjoying my riding and working with the guys. If I just focus on that everything else will happen.”
Lowes talked about the idea that the Yamaha (the official bike he lost at the end of 2019 before being offered a KRT Kawasaki in 2020) is the easiest bike to ride in the paddock.
“Whenever you change teams all the bikes have different characteristics,” said former BSB champion (on a Honda). “For sure the Yamaha handles very well so anybody can jump on the bike and it is quite easy to arrive at a certain lap time.
“But to go really fast is quite difficult. The Kawasaki, you have to stop the bike a little bit more. It is so strong on the brakes and in acceleration. You just have to understand the best way to ride the bike; it is not really about the riding style.
“It makes it a lot easier when you arrive and the bike is so good; you just have to work on adapting yourself. I still have, I would say, ten or 15 per cent to go to feel that I am riding as comfortably as I as on the other bike.”
The Catalunya circuit surface was not as grippy in hot conditions as the resurfaced Misano circuit was at the previous test, also held in hot conditions. That brought another learning element into the first testing ‘shift’ at Catalunya for Lowes.
“In this kind of heat the grip drops so you have to be a little bit smoother on the bike,” said Alex. “The guys have been reminding me today to be smooth and not force the bike too much. It has been quite good because in the early rounds at Jerez, Portimao and Aragon I am expecting some hot weather. To be able to test in these conditions is really important to us.”
Lowes has held up well in the initial stages of the season to having Rea as his team-mate, even beating him at the first round to win the final PI race in a head-to-head. He explained his situation for the rest of the much-changed and shorter season, starting at Jerez in early August: “I expect to do my best. It is not easy when you arrive at the track and your team-mate is probably the best-ever Superbike rider.
“It means you have got to do a good job to try and race against him every day. PI was good, and I enjoyed that, but now I need to focus on the next one. PI is a bit of a strange track but it was good for my belief that if I work on everything in the correct way I can arrive at the front.”