James Whitham: No such thing as luck… or is there? - Bikesport News

James Whitham: No such thing as luck… or is there?

Accidents don’t just happen do they? Bad luck is surely a convenient excuse when things go wrong that shouldn’t go wrong? This is the cynics view based on the assumption that everything has a cause. And it is difficult to argue with.

But it is equally hard to deny that fortune has not favoured Alex Lowes in the last two WorldSBK rounds. I like him and one of the reasons why I like him is that he wears his heart on his sleeve, he’s really honest about what he is doing and in line with most of the Brits he is a 110 per cent man. He tries really hard in everything: his training, his testing and he is a really determined man.

That doesn’t mean that’s why he’s fallen off a bit of late. In fact this year he has made massive improvements in consistency and finishing races. In the last couple of meetings he has had a lot of bad luck however you define it. (The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘accident’ as ‘an unpleasant and unexpected event”‘or ‘an event that’s happens by chance’).

He was knocked out of a certain podium at Jerez in the first race. In the subsequent races he crashed trying just too hard to try and make up for his race one no-score, and I am convinced the weekend would have panned out a lot differently had that not happened. He could easily have had three podiums.

At Misano, in the wet, he was so far in front and even Jonathan Rea said he was riding superbly. But conditions were constantly changing, puddles were building up and you can fall off just as easily whether you’re 15th or leading. Other people fell off at the same place and Jonathan said he felt that if it had gone wrong for him it would probably have been there.

Now I know it can be argued there is no such thing as bad luck but to me it is a sort of concept used when there is no other way of explaining things. I don’t believe in fate, that things are mapped out for you, and I do believe you can make your own luck to some extent. As golfer Gary Player famously said ‘The more I practice, the luckier I get…’

So what you’ve seen with Alex is a lot of bad luck but the problem is that once you get into a habit it is sometimes difficult to break out of it. I’m really hoping it is behind him now because he didn’t have a totally bad weekend at Misano and we have Donington coming up where he is capable of winning.

Now if he thinks too much about it then it is more likely to happen again. But he has to have confidence in his abilities which we all have, not to over-ride it because his team-mate isn’t there and just crack on.

Two crashes, both while leading, have not been attributed to anything by championship leader Alvaro Bautista other than confessing: ”I made mistakes.” It has certainly put life into the championship with only a 16 point gap between his much vaunted Ducati V4 and the Kawasaki of Rea.

The Spaniard’s last ride at Donington was on a 250 in 2009 giving Rea every chance to narrow the gap further. This time he may find himself competing against his one-time MotoGP team-mate Scott Redding as a wild card entry. I talked to Scott at Brands Hatch and he was saying that he hoping to ride a bike with all the whistles and bells, i.e. a WorldSBK-spec bike, otherwise he wasn’t interested.

Whether he’s going to get it from the Ducati factory will, I suspect, be political but no doubt he would like to put himself in the WorldSBK shop window. The other question is whether the PBM team owner wants to risk his rider or the expense of a WorldSBK entry, a lot of money. Josh Brookes, on the other hand, will be riding his BSB-spec bike .

Roll on Donington. The WWorldSBK championship looks now like a two-horse race although its a pity that with Michael van der Mark out for several weeks and Alex missing out on big points, the Yamaha challenge has been set back.

This weekend BSB goes to Knockhill where, unlike Misano, the sun is guaranteed to shine… And we’ll see how the new boys, like Scott Redding and Xavi Fores, shape up. It’s not a particularly complex circuit and looking at it on a map you would think they should be able to get it nailed down after about 20 laps. But its such a tight little circuit with its ups and down and adverse cambers it will take a bit of learning to get up to the pace required this weekend.

Redding has tested there and I think he can get going. But can he win it? I think probably not but he doesn’t need to. Josh Brookes knows the place well and he will be favourite although Tommy Bridewell will have something to say about that.

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