Normally, crashing very near the end of a two-day test could be a downer for any rider in a new team, but such had been the pace and overall learning experience that Alex Lowes had at Jerez, he only lost a chance to end up higher than fourth on the second day, having also been fourth on day one.
Up until them it had all gone almost swimmingly with focus on braking strategies where his predecessor and friend Leon Haslam had struggled.
“The first focus was doing more laps and working with the guys. Working with Marcel, working with Danilo, and letting them know about what I want from the bike - and also making sure that my information can make the right changes on the bike - has been really positive,” Lowes told bikesportnews.com.
“These guys know the bike well and not just that, they are a fantastic group of people. It has been really nice for me to come in and learn off them.”
This was his second test for the official KRT team, after a half washed out Motorland Aragon outing recently, but with two dry days at Jerez Lowes made big strides in how he and his bike matched up – and now also under braking.
“After the Aragon test, Marcel and I wanted to work on the braking because how I rode my old bike was a little bit different. But already from the first laps here we made a big step, and today I felt really comfortable with the braking.
“This, I am really happy about. We did some longer runs today and I could keep it in a nice consistent pace, which was another really good thing.”
Lowes, like all his peers after a long season, is ready for his winter break, but looking forward to his next track outings in January because of how well his test went, for speed and especially for consistency.
“We did a race simulation and was able to be nice and consistent and I learned a lot about the bike. I am really happy to have had good weather and been able to make a step forward.
“This bike is obviously different to the bike in the past but I understood a lot. I have a lot of things to think about in the winter but it has been a really positive day for me.
From what I felt today there are some real good characteristics of the bike, with acceleration, the way the bike comes off the corner - over race distance this can be a real strong point of the bike.”
The only downer was the literal one of the late crash, which saw him unable to restart but his peers have one last final ten-minute dash after the red flag incident had been cleared up.
“I crashed with a qualifying tyre at the end of the day, a little bit cold on the left,” said Lowes. “It was a shame because I didn’t get to do the qualifying tyre lap, but I was a just a little bit aggressive and made a mistake. That’s it, really.”
Lowes will hook up with his new crew and machine for two more tests in Iberia, at Jerez and then Portimao, in late January 2020, before the first official tests at Phillip Island in late February, a few days before the first round of the season, between 28 February and 1 March.