Moto2 rookie Sam Lowes wasn't able to repeat his front running qualifying form in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, but the Englishman felt the Mugello weekend had been a 'massive step forward'.

Starting an excellent second on the grid, the Speed Up rider admitted that the nervous handling of his bike in the early stages cost him time. The Englishman finished eighth, but spent of the race among a group of riders challenging for fourth.

"I had a little bit of trouble at the start and lost the rear into turn four and then again into turn seven," said the reigning World Supersport champion. "I tucked the front again in the first two laps so I thought that something might have been wrong with the pressure or the oil on the tyres and then it got a bit better and I got my head down and into a bit of a rhythm.

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"In the middle of the race our pace wasn't bad but I just struggled and we need to make the bike easier to ride and to make the lap time. I can do it for one lap but then on the next lap I'll miss a corner and it won't be as easy."

Having spent most of the weekend riding in clean air to try and set his fast times on his own, the characteristics of the bike seemed to change when he was racing with other riders.

"We're lacking a little bit, but I feel that I'm riding good. When I'm with those guys the bike is just a little bit harder to ride then them. I'm making a lot more effort than they are so we've got to sort that out. We've got a test here on Tuesday and after Barcelona we've got some more testing as well so we'll keep trying.

"When the bike comes back online I'm losing the front. They seem to be backing it in less and then going straight into the corner. We're only losing a little bit here and there but it's three or four corners on this track and that's two or three tenths. I'm quite happy with the potential so we just need to keep working."

Overall for Lowes, who finished two seconds behind Simone Corsi in fourth position, the weekend was clearly a step forward from the early season races and he is feeling confident for upcoming races at tracks he is familiar with from World Supersport:

"It's been a massive step forward for us and it's been a good weekend for us. We've got a lot of good data and we've got the tests coming up as well. We're working well as a team."

The next best Speed Up rider on Sunday was Anthony West in 18th.