Lowes P2 despite illness: "Didn’t think I was going to be able to ride… surprised at how fast I could be!"

Wednesday, 24 January 2024 17:46 GMT

The Brit was battling illness in the run up to the test and opted to complete a relatively low number of laps to try and be in the best possible shape for tomorrow

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was one of the headline-grabbers on day one at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, despite feeling unwell as he headed to Spain. Completing only 31 laps, by far the lowest number of the full-time riders on the grid, the #22 was still able to take second place and put in impressive lap times on his ZX-10RR and even confessed that he was “surprised” at how fast he went on the SC0 race tyre during his limited running.

STRONG DAY DESPITE ILLNESS: surprise at the pace, more work to be done

Lowes’ best lap time was a 1’39.474s which he set on his 24th lap out of the 31 he completed in total. With the Brit under the weather heading into the test, he opted for limited running on Wednesday to try and be in better shape for Thursday. Before Nicolo Bulega’s ( Racing – Ducati) late improvement, Lowes had been just a few tenths off the pace although the Ducati rider’s big gain late in the day meant everyone finished more than a second off his pace.

Reviewing his day and explaining the ups and downs of Wednesday at Jerez, Lowes said: “It was good, honestly. I couldn’t do many laps because I’ve been feeling properly sick. I didn’t think I was going to be able to ride this morning. I wanted to ride a bit today to hopefully feel better tonight and do a full day tomorrow. The pace was really good. I was surprised, especially with the SC0 tyre, at how fast I could be. After a couple of months off, you always wonder how you’re going to feel and I had such a good feeling in November, so I was really happy to start where I left off, feeling good on the bike and confident. Our biggest problem is used tyres and long run pace. I hope I can make a good step tonight physically to be able to work on that tomorrow. I enjoyed today and being back and nice to get the year started.”

NEW ITEMS TESTED: different forks and working to pick the bike up off the corner

With his 31 laps comparing unfavourably to the rest of the grid, Lowes will be hoping to feel better on Thursday, to get more mileage under his belt and work on the items that are at the test for both him and the team. The two-time race winner also expanded on where he wants to find improvements for the upcoming campaign, with a particular focus on long-run and late-race pace.

“I tried to dial myself in. I tried different forks which had a different feeling, especially on the trail braking”, Lowes said when discussing what he tested on Wednesday. “We need to try over more laps. The electronics stuff, we’re always working so hard to make small improvements on the bike and electronics can help with the lap time or the opposite if it’s not quite right. It’s a bit of a minefield. We’re not really working on corner entry but picking up the gas and driving off the corner, the balance between the bike spinning or wheelieing, and this stuff. What we’re trying to achieve is the most efficiency out of acceleration and also make the bike easier to use for the longer races. It’s really hard to make that compromise.”

Watch the 2024 campaign unfold in style using the comprehensive WorldSBK VideoPass!