Sam Lowes may have ended up in the gravel twice as the official MotoGP test got underway at Phillip Island, but the premier class rookie hasn't lost any heart.
Lowes was encouraged by his start to the test on Wednesday morning but ran into problems as the wind began to pick up around the spectacular Aussie course.
The Gresini Aprilia rider went down first at Siberia, destroying his bike, and then later at Lukey Heights on his second machine.
“Funny day actually to be fair. It started really good. Honestly, after three exits I'd have said, 'I'll be doing 1m 30s by the end of the day'. Then it got a bit more windy and I started to have some small problems with a bit of movement of the bike, the stability, and it just slowed us down a little bit,” said Lowes.
“Then I had a crash, in Siberia, on the way in. But on the data there was nothing strange, just the position of the bike at the front was a lot higher and I was maybe 3kph faster. So it looks like I got a big bit of wind and went down at exactly the same time as [Alvaro] Bautista and that.
“So because it was all new to me at the moment and then you struggle to understand the wind - and boom, you're down. Snapped the bike. Massive. But it wasn't even a big crash. I only slid a bit, I may as well have fell down the stairs. Like nothing. I looked up and the bike was in about four pieces. I thought 'oh my god what a nightmare!'
“Then I had a couple of issues with the second bike, just because we haven't run it. Normal things. In-out, in-out. Then we had the hard tyre, which is the extra hard here, and I went out, did a few laps and said 'It feels okay, but I'm still struggling with stability'. So we changed the swing-arm length a little bit and then I crashed again,” he added.
“A strange one into Lukey Heights, lost the rear. Just caught me out. Inexperience, a bit of me getting a bit caught out with the wind again not understanding everything and you don't get a second chance here. Then we finished the day obviously. So we only did 35 laps, which is not a lot around here.”
Lowes, though, remains upbeat as he looks ahead to day two, when improving the stability of the RS-GP will be his main priority.
“Honestly if we can start off tomorrow and find the feeling we had in the first few runs and keep working with the bike it'll be good. If we can just fix the stability, which we've got a good plan for tomorrow, I'll be sound. Because it made me a bit nervous on the bike and that's when we had issues and before that I felt really good. If we can fix that we can get into a rhythm, improve and improve,” he said.
“But the potential's good and I love this place and it's so mint on a MotoGP bike. It's about half the length of what it is on a Moto2 bike! There's no straights; it's just corner, corner, corner, shake a bit, corner! Obviously you want every day to be a mint day, but it's alright. We know what's going on with the bike and everything. We'll be alright.”
Lowes, who was 21st fastest behind fellow Briton Scott Redding after setting his best lap in 1m 32.307s, said his confidence hasn't been shaken by Wednesday's brace of spills.
“No, because the first one I know exactly what happened and when I went back out - even on the hard tyre - did '32s again and that was with me being 'don't crash again'. And because I was riding like that I crashed again. I should have just gone out and thought 'f**k it'.
“Because I wasn't pushing that hard this morning, just 90% like in Sepang. That's what I said to the guys today; 'I wouldn't be pissed off if I was trying!' With these tyres you can't go steady. You can't ride like that. The reason I crashed on the hard rear was because I respected it too much. But you have to respect it enough. It's a fine line. Bit cold and it just spun around off gas. I've never crashed like that in my life.
“Also I'm used to sliding from Moto2, so I thought 'it's okay and next minute it spun around'. So I'm not worried. At Sepang I did three days without problem and it would have been nice to carry that on,” added Lowes.
“The bike's great. The bike's finicky and you need to find where it is. Obviously, I'm still on the old bike. They struggled with similar things here last year, but Aleix [Espargaro] had less problems on the bike.”
Lowes is hopeful he will have the new RS-GP possibly for the third and final day of testing at Phillip Island, or if not, then in time for the Qatar test.
“If I keep breaking these, I might get one sooner than I thought! I think Qatar test, or maybe the last day here. We'll be fine. I just need to put some long runs in to understand the bike and fix the problems. We've got two more days here and hopefully it'll be less windy.
“Honestly as soon as I can click and ride the bike in a good way the track won't make a difference to me. We just need to make that next step in how I feel on the bike. We'll get there. If I think how I finished Sepang and how I started today. If I just keep in that direction we'll be sound.”