Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes knows it has taken him a long time to get his first WorldSBK win, but it is testimony to his racer’s instincts that he knew it would come, and sooner rather than later this season.
With typical chirpy wit he said, “I told you, didn’t I?” when congratulations were offered on his first win, before he continued “I dunno how many races it has been but it is too many [118, to be exact – GR] but you cannot win if you are not on the right kit. No matter if you have a thousand races or two races.
“We know how this sport works. I think I finished second in my fifth WorldSBK race at Assen, in the wet in 2014, and it has been a long way since then. It means a lot to win but it means a lot that I am at the front every weekend and working in a really good way. Now I think I can class myself as a genuine podium contender every weekend.”
After what must have been personal internal anguish in see his team-mate win not one but both Donington races recently, winning his own first race at the very next meeting was really important for Lowes as an individual.
“Personally, quite a lot of importance, because it is never nice to get your arse whipped at your home race,” said Lowes, candidly. “But Michael did a fantastic job there, and at Assen – and at a lot of the races. It has been down to me to try and change my style a bit, because this year he has been getting a lot more out of the bike than me.
“It has helped me. We get on great. We battle quite closely on track but we have enough respect for each other that we enjoy that, and we are still friends. This dynamic works really well and it was important for me to get the win. I think both of us have a good personal relationship with the team, and it is nice to get a 1-2 today. I am happy it was him behind me and it was good for the team.”
The big question remains what was the big difference that made Lowes the winner this time out – even if some bigger leading names crashed out or ran on at key moments.
Not a huge reversal of his recent problems with getting slower toward the end of races, not faster, as he used to be more consistently.
“I still struggled a bit at the end compared to how I was in the middle but luckily other people were struggling as well. I would not say that we have fixed the problems we had. I was not that satisfied with my pace as I was struggling and playing with the maps a lot.
“You could see on TV that trying to get the bike back to the apex I was having a lot of movement on the rear, which is something I did not have last year. It is an area I need to improve.”
Now Lowes has to begin the climb up the championship table from his current sixth place. “Results have not been happening for me in terms of wins and podiums like they have for Michael, but I think I am the only rider to finish every race in the points this year. So it is a step for me in the consistency side of it.
“If I can just get the last bit of comfort with the bike we can be really strong every weekend. But it is great to get the first win and I really enjoyed it.”