WorldSBK Phillip Island: Lowes enjoying fighting at the front| Gordon Ritchie | WorldSBK
Alex Lowes was back on the WorldSBK podium on Sunday afternoon to wrap up his season with a double Kawasaki celebration in Australia.
Lowes has had some issues to deal with in the early part of 2022, but in the second half of the season (an ill-fated change of set-up tack in Mandalika last time out aside) he has come onto his season-ending game in stronger style than many others.
He took third place in the final race of the year at Phillip Island, alongside teammate Jonathan Rea, to double his weekend podium tally to two and his season-long tally to four. And even with Toprak Razgatlioglu breathing down his neck before the red flag came out to end the second long race [and season] prematurely, Lowes would have backed himself to take third if it had gone to all 22 laps in duration.
“Yeah, I think so,” he affirmed. “When I knew I couldn’t catch Johnny and Alvaro [Bautista], I dropped my lap time maybe half a second trying to look after the left side of the tyre, because I knew for sure I was going to get ‘Topraked’ to the end of the race! I was trying to look after the rear tyre, because when I passed him it looked like he was struggling more than me. His bike was sliding. He was a bit unstable.
“I’m sure there was going to be a last lap battle, so I was looking forward to it because I’ve not had a good battle with him this year.
“The most important thing is I hope the guys are okay that crashed, especially for Eugene [Laverty]. He’s been such a top, top guy in the World Superbike paddock for many years. I hope he’s okay. It was his final race today. Hope they’re okay.
“I think I would have had a good chance, but it’s just good to be up battling with them guys in all the races, all the conditions, and a strong end to the season for me.”
In general Lowes is aware his second half of the season has eclipsed his first half.
“Yeah, it’s been fast here,” Lowes agreed. “Apart from Mandalika, I feel like I was fast in Magny-Cours, Portimao… I was fast in Barcelona race. I pushed Alvaro for eight laps. The second part of the year, I’ve been a lot more competitive.
“On this track the bike is quite stable. It is turning, lots of fast corners, if you have some good stability I think it helps a bit. Also I think it’s a track that I go well at. I was also fast on the Yamaha and on the Suzuki a long time ago, so I’ve always gone pretty well. Johnny as well. It’s like his second home race. I think as riders we go well here and the package allows us to do that, obviously. So, that helps.”
Lowes has been a regular rider in WorldSBK for many years now, at 32 years old, but he is riding near the top of his potential and maybe with room to improve yet?
“I have a good balance,” said Lowes. “I’m young enough to still want to risk everything but I’m old enough to understand the situation a bit better. I feel good. I’m happy to have a full year with no injuries. A little bit of bad luck with some mechanicals in Assen. I lost a couple of good races there. I was sick in Most, but apart from that I can’t have any complaints about the season.
“It’s a tough championship now in WorldSBK, so to be consistently one of the guys just behind, let’s say, the three top guys. Next year I want to have more weekends like this weekend where I’m fighting with them. That’s the target. I’ve got a good personal life now with my kids at home. I’m enjoying my life. Racing is just a bonus, so if I can enjoy it and do well, this is fantastic.”