Coming off the back of a resounding first win aboard the Kalex chassis, Sam Lowes believes he is starting races in a more relaxed frame of mind in 2016, something that is showing in his recent strong run of results.
Lowes was in dominant form at the Spanish Grand Prix, pulling off a spectacular pole position on Saturday, before controlling the 26-lap race to collect his second grand prix triumph by 2.4 seconds over the chasing Jonas Folger.
Not even a fall through the fast turn seven in morning warm-up could negatively impact Lowes' confidence as the race approached, and speaking after the race, the 25-year old explained how his confidence in the workings of the Kalex frame coupled with a strong start to the season has allowed him to begin races with a greater deal of calm.
“That race was long,” said the Englishman, who now leads Alex Rins in the Moto2 championship by ten points. “This morning I crashed but I wasn't too bad. The track conditions changed quite a lot but we did have quite a lot of testing here. The only difference was the race was a little hotter but I felt quite good.
“Coming into this weekend off two second places and two really strong riders, I felt confident for the race. I feel a lot more relaxed this year. I feel like I can take my time, I don't have to rush into it, which is a big positive. I don't get as tired on the bike and that helps over race distance.
“I came here wanting to win and we did that. To lead the championship and get the win now is nice. I hope we can kick on in Le Mans.”
Although Lowes showed in free practice that he had the pace to break free in the early laps, Folger held on resolutely to his coattails until lap 16, when the Englishman's ability to reel off 1m 43s times lap-after-lap told.
“Obviously it's only my second win in Grand Prix,” replied Lowes when asked whether maintaining concentration in those closing laps had been a test.
“Last year in Austin I followed Zarco until three or four laps until the end. So that was quite easy to keep concentration. Today was a big test. I led a lot of the race and I felt good. I could focus on the lap time and try and keep constant. I did it quite well so that's something in my pocket that I can use in the next races.
“I was a little upset because I looked and saw I didn't get the fastest lap! Only joking. Here and Qatar I went to bed the night before thinking I had a really good chance. In Qatar I did but I went a bit early on the start. This is what I want.
"I came into this paddock two years ago to fight for the world championship and be a guy that shows he can be at the top. I want to show that over the season. Next year when I go to MotoGP, to have a really good season behind me would make a massive difference for my confidence, my team and how I'm perceived in this paddock. I am relatively new here and it's a nice feeling for me."
In the post-race press conference, fellow podium men Folger and Rins spoke of how they had looked on at Lowes' enviable pace, knowing he would be that man to beat on Sunday.
Asked how hearing this affected his confidence, Lowes replied, “This year my rivals, I know who they are. I know when I work good, the team works good, I can beat them guys. I'm not saying every weekend but, like today, I can do it. Now I just need to stay focused and keep improving every weekend. In this class you have to.
“It's a nice compliment when they say that but I respect everyone in this field and know that I could go to Le Mans and there'd be five or six guys in front of me. That's the best thing about Moto2. That's why I think it's the best place to learn before going to MotoGP and that's why these guys are being spoken about. It's the way go.”