After three years plying his trade in the British Supersport category, Ian Lowry finally got his chance to step up to Superbikes in 2009, an opportunity he grasped with both hands.
Sticking with the Relentless Suzuki team, Lowry was one of a small number of rookies competing at BSB level in 2009, although unlike Sylvain Guintoli, Josh Brookes and Graeme Gowland, he was the only championship class newcomer not to come from an international platform.
With more experienced team-mate Atsushi Watanabe to measure himself against, Lowry quickly established himself as Relentless' number one rider, breaching the top six in only his fourth race at Oulton Park.
Far from being a fluke, Lowry continued to post an improving set of results, reaching the top five at Snetterton before reaching a new high of fourth at Cadwell Park.
Lowry's sheer consistency also enabled him to climb his way through the overall standings.. Indeed, at one stage, Lowry got as high as fourth, despite having not yet scored a podium.
As it happens, Lowry wouldn't reach the rostrum in 2009, the Ulsterman managing a second fourth place finish at the Oulton Park finale to nonetheless guarantee himself a remarkable fifth in the standings.
While Lowry's final position could be considered somewhat fortuitous in light of rivals' injury or suspension woes, it shouldn't take away from a score sheet that saw him finish inside the top ten on 17 occasions in 2009 – an impressive feat for any rider, let alone a Superbike rookie…
Relentless Suzuki by TAS
4th (Cadwell Park, Oulton Park)
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2008:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2009
10 – John Laverty