WorldSBK Donington: Lowes calm but confident, ’I felt really good today’| Christina Bulpett | WorldSBK
Kawasaki’s Alex Lowes was well and truly at home as Donington Park welcomed WorldSBK action on Friday.
Lowes completed the day fourth fastest in the free practice times after setting a 1’27.684, six-tenths off his session-topping teammate Jonathan Rea. Having worked on long run pace with the SCX Pirelli across the afternoon, the 31-year-old is pleased with his progress and confident of his options for the weekend’s three battles.
“The first day went okay even though I had my best lap cancelled,” Lowes admitted on Friday evening. “I got a bit greedy on the entrance to the chicane and I think I touched the green track limits marker.
“It’s nice to be back at Donington. I’ve been a little bit nervous this week because it’s a real home race for me so I’ve been anxious to get on track. People expect you’re going to do a lot better in your home race but the reality is we just ride here one time per year so I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to see the fans on the banking.
“It’s a track I enjoy and to be honest I felt really good on the bike today.
“In FP1, I tried my 2022 standard setting and also something towards what we used at Donington last year. In the afternoon, I tried to do a longer run with the SCX tyre just to gather some information for race one tomorrow. I’ve felt quite good. There are some areas in the middle of the lap, the second sector, where I need to improve but in general, I was quite happy.
“The weather has been good and I think it’s just going to get better all weekend. The pace is pretty good so that’s nice. If the temperature rises I know which tyre I am going to use, as I did a long run with it in FP2. I am not sure about the front tyre yet.
“The SC0 doesn’t offer enough grip for us. For the Superpole race maybe the SCQ tyre can be an option, like we saw many riders in the last couple of races. This will depend on the temperature we have, if the temperature gets up more, is more possibility to use this SCQ tyre, so it’s a little bit more simple this weekend. We have less options from Pirelli, just the standard SC0, SCX and SCQ, so we’ve done enough work today, some laps on each of the tyres, to understand for the weekend. From the tyre point of view, we’re in a good position.”
Lowes finished ahead of both Ducati’s with Alvaro Bautista sitting fifth ahead of his Aruba.it teammate Michael Rinaldi, so how does he feel about his podium chances in the upcoming races?
“I think Alvaro was still pretty fast today but yeah, I want to try and be on the podium,” he answered confidently. “I think that I have a good opportunity, I’ve done a lot of laps today and I’ve been close a couple of times this year, but we need to keep calm.
“Obviously I want to be on the podium but if I can only take fourth or fifth I need to take the best result possible but I’ll be trying to get on the podium. It would be great. Last year in race one we managed the podium and this year in 2022 I’ve not been on the podium yet. A couple of fourth places my best result, so be nice to get the first one of the year at home!”