Sam Lowes believes his dream of clinching the Moto2 world crown “is definitely not over” after winning his second grand prix of 2016 at Aragon, and feels he is still very much in the world championship running.
“It's on and we're there,” said a buoyant Lowes in the wake of completing an immaculate weekend, during which he claimed pole position and consummately led home runner-up Alex Marquez by 3.2 seconds at the flag.
By contrast, title contenders Alex Rins (sixth) and Johann Zarco (eighth) both struggled, allowing Lowes to close to 40 points of the championship lead. With 100 still up for grabs, the 26-year old guaranteed he would “give it everything” to reduce that deficit in the final four races.
“Here, we've had a good weekend,” said Lowes, who led each of the 21 laps in Sunday's race.
“We came here with confidence after the test. Misano I always struggle a little bit anyway so in the end it would have been good to get some points. I feel good. I think this weekend we've shown a good level and been fast in every session. Pole position is always nice, so it's been strong.
“Also, now they [Zarco and Rins] are really close on points. It's going to be difficult on them. I'm in a good position. Japan's good. Phillip Island's my best track. I finished second there last year and fifth in my first year in Moto2.
“It can be good. If they get caught up in Japan and I have a good result, then we go to Phillip Island, who knows? It's on. I feel great. I'm going to give it everything. I'm going to MotoGP next year. I've got nothing to lose.
“I've had a bad few races but this puts us back in there to prove that I'm in Moto2 – not to be big-headed – but to win like that, not everyone can do that. It's good. The same in Jerez. It's on and we're there. Going up to MotoGP, you need to prove you're worthy of it. Hopefully I am. It's not over yet. It's definitely not over so we'll keep pushing.
“I think for the championship, four out of the last five races there have been no points scored. It just really gives me an even sourer taste for [what happened at] Silverstone, but that's racing.
“The other mistakes were my fault so I can't say too much. But I feel good. If I can just keep working in this way, keep putting the laps in, the bike's in a good way now. We're in a good way.”
Asked what contributed to this dominant weekend, Lowes pointed toward a recent test at Valencia, where he was able to test new parts from Ohlins, as the starting point from which he gained some much-needed momentum.
“We had some new forks which gave me a bit more feeling. Obviously I slide the bike going into the corner. As the bike comes back in line, when we have the harder rear tyre, it's a strange feeling in the front, and these new forks helped a little bit.
“We got new forks two or three races ago and then we had a new version last week and it was definitely better. It gave me added confidence. Even if it's moving more, at least I understand where it is. Before there was not that much feeling. It was OK, it was OK, and the next minute I was lying in the gravel thinking, 'What the hell?' Now I need a bit more of a forgiving bike.
“It was the right time to test and the right time to get that right, little boost for these last few races. If the flyaways go to plan and work in my favour, look how the other guys are now, you never know… I've had a great test at Valencia last week. It could be great planning from us. We're in a good way. The team's done great. It's nice to repay them after a bad few races and we'll keep going.”
Lowes was further boosted by his performance at the post-race test at Aragon on Monday, where he improved both his personal best lap time and race pace.