Yamaha unveiled its 2020 YZF-R1 at the Laguna Seca WorldSBK round but Alex Lowes doesn’t know whether he will be riding one next season or not.
The Derby man, who is now third in the title chase after a solid weekend in America, hasn’t yet had his contract renewed by the Iwata factory despite riding at the Suzuka Eight-Hours later this month.
“We had some automatic clauses in our contracts, after Jerez I think. I got knocked off there but I think it was whoever was top Yamaha, so I think Michael is pretty much sorted,” Lowes told bikesportnews.com.
“It seems quite positive with me but until you have been sorted you do not really know. I will just keep focusing on what I am doing. Suzuka in couple of weeks and then I go on holiday.
Now I have nothing. If I stay for next year I have to negotiate a new deal with them. To be third in the championship helps, I guess. I have a plan B but I want to stay with Yamaha really.
“This year has nearly been great and I really enjoy being tam-mates with Michael and the atmosphere in the team.
“I think actually we are two of the strongest riders pushing each other and I do not think we always have the most competitive bike on the weekend but we work really hard and push each other really hard and I enjoying the challenge of trying to beat him. Obviously he is a bit injured but we have four rounds to go so it is going to be a good fight to the end of the year.”
Lowes was best Yamaha in show this weekend and moved ahead of van der Mark into third place overall after race two.
“It was alright today but I think we have been missing a bit all weekend really,” said Lowes. “It has always been a tough track since I started on the Yamaha. I got my podium here last year but a long way from the top guys.
“It is almost like the other guys last year were not riding as well, which allowed us to be on the podium. Yesterday’s race I was similar to last year in terms of pace, but I think today’s was a bit better. Obviously the guys have gone a bit quicker. I think all the Yamaha guys have struggled this weekend, so we just need to understand where we are losing our time.”
Lowes, needing more pep out of the corners, made a change to his set-up in the afternoon. “I changed the gearing for that second race, which is a bigger change than we would normally make,” said Lowes. “The bike felt really busy but it had better acceleration. It was quite hard to ride for 25 laps but we did not quite get the set-up right but anyway, we were a bit too far behind.
“There are some tracks where we are really fast and other tracks we struggled. It is quite good having five Yamahas on the grid now seeing that they are doing exactly the same as what I did since ‘16 or Michael has been doing. Some tracks we can win, some tracks we can’t win.
“It is good that we are all having similar issues like that. I think this weekend I made the best of the situation I could, I was really strong, no mistakes and made some good races. I think Tom was faster than me in that race but I managed to outrace him and get fourth. I think I have maximised what I had but we need to understand why we cannot be consistently fighting the Kawasakis and Ducatis.”