19 August 2015
MotoGP Brno: Lowes bolstered by ‘solid’ Brno showing
A gutsy Moto2 display in Brno, in which Sam Lowes climbed from 15th to fifth, sees the Speed Up rider take plenty of positives to Silverstone
Sam Lowes was pleased to turn a difficult weekend around after a 'solid' showing on Sunday saw him climb ten positions to finish the Moto2 race in fifth.
The Englishman had struggled with front-end feel on Saturday and wasn't aided when his frame broke towards the close of the qualifying session, an incident which Lowes admitted 'was a confidence knock.'
Undeterred from a starting place of 13th – his worst grid slot of the year - and a hectic first lap, Lowes sparkled in the race, showing the requisite grit and determination to steadily climb through the top ten.
From laps six to twelve Lowes, now joint fourth overall in the championship, was able to lap faster than the leading pair of Johann Zarco and Tito Rabat five times, underscoring a race pace that was only undermined by his misfortune in qualifying.
By lap 13 Lowes had made short work of Franco Morbidelli, Thomas Luthi and Jonas Folger to sit fifth, a place he would hold until the end of the race. It was a performance that drew praise from around the paddock and Lowes was pleased to have extracted a result from a trying situation.
“It was a good race. In the first split I was down to 15th and I came through to fifth," he said. "In that class I had to make a lot of passes, someone passed me back, I came through, caught them up and passed them…they're not shit, are they? It's hard to do. So I'll take that after the last few races. As far as my season's gone that was a good ride. It's come at a good time. It was a tough weekend, everyone saw what happened yesterday. I think people have thought, 'He's done good, there.'
“From laps five to 15 I had a similar pace to the leaders. If I had have been there I would have been within a shout. The last four laps I struggled a lot as it got a bit tight. We had not done enough laps this weekend so it was a bit of an unknown at the end of the race.
“In the stadium area I came round a little bit over the kerb. I think I hit something on the left side – I had a bit of chatter there – but it didn't affect me too much. That was only the last three laps so it didn't make much of a difference. It didn't change the result, I wasn't going forward anyway. It was a really solid ride because we've had a tough weekend. I've had a tough weekend personally. I had a small crash. The bike breaking was a confidence knock. It was not ideal. I was just picking the bike up. If I had been laying it down it would have been massive.
“[From lap six] I had a really good rhythm then. I started to lose a bit of rear grip and I dropped a little bit. In the last five laps I lost a lot and I knew I couldn't catch them. I started to struggle and thought, 'Don't crash now!' Folger was there but I controlled it a bit. He was closer than I thought on the last lap but it was safe. After the weekend I had it was solid.”
With the high temperatures and severe bumps on corner entry to several turns, Lowes had struggled with front-end feeling through free practice and qualifying. The race underscored one or two weaknesses his Speed Up frame has when compared to his Kalex-mounted rivals.
“All weekend the biggest problem I've had was front-end feel. When you're in 13th with all them people around you, you need to be aggressive. I couldn't be aggressive because I didn't have the confidence. Then when I got into the race I actually was aggressive and started to get the confidence back. In the first few laps it was alright.
“In them chicanes people put their bikes there and you can't do anything. What I noticed a lot is when they go wide into a corner they can get it back. When I go wide I'm wide for the whole corner. That's one thing they [Kalex riders] can do better than me, the turning angle. They can turn the bike so tight. When I make the corner right it's the same. But in the first laps when you're not making it right all the time they can beat you a bit there but we'll get there.”
Looking ahead to Silverstone, Lowes is setting his sights on reeling in Tito Rabat, who sits 26 points ahead of him in the championship, as a realistic goal for the end of the year.
“I think after that ride and going to Silverstone, where I finished sixth last year. It was not that bad. This year has been a lot better so I think I'll make it happen there. I need to. We're joint fourth in the championship with Luthi, 27 points off second. That's a realistic target. If I can get some wins. Silverstone, home fans, try and win and it looks a lot different.”
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