Sam Lowes believes he is gradually assembling the pieces of the MotoGP puzzle after a positive post-race test at Brno, where the Englishman focussed mainly on improving his braking technique aboard Aprilia’s RS-GP.

The Moto2 race winner had highlighted the first 30 metres of the braking zone as the area most in need of improvement. With the engine braking available on a MotoGP machine, as well as Aprilia’s seamless gearbox, Lowes found he has been missing some braking intensity in the first part of corner entry since his graduation to the premier class. 

Monday was then a case of working in that direction, with Lowes using Brno’s numerous heavy braking zones to hone his technique, and work on a suitable set-up for the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix, held at the brake-heavy Red Bull Ring.

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Having overlaid his data with that of team-mate Aleix Espargaro, the 26-year old could trace his progress over the day, and believes these small steps will bring about some strong results imminently. “I honestly feel like the puzzle, it’s nearly there,” he said.

“We’ve been working on my braking,” said Lowes, after ending his testing duties after three hours of running due to an infection in the wound on the foot he injured last Friday. “I’ve got a tendency a bit to shut off and then brake and that’s something from Moto2. I’ve been working on that.

“Basically I always I take a bit of a gear as I shut off. I backshift real quick. Last year I’d have the clutch in, you see, and then backshift. Then it sort of messes up the engine brake and means I can’t get enough brake pressure in the first 30 metres of braking. I miss that little bit.

“Then after that my trace is exactly the same as my team-mate. Probably now, I’m braking five or ten metres earlier than him, not fifty. It’s a little bit. Today into turn one, I was the same as him. That’s good.

“Turn one, four and the last corner. The last corner I was still missing a little bit. In the two areas I was trying you could overlay our two graphs and it was nearly identical so that’s positive steps.

“My style in Moto2 was so different. It was quite extravagant in one direction. It’s not so much out of the range, it depends how you ride a Moto2 bike. But then it’s always another level with the seamless, with the electronics, and everything else.

“It’s more for me the problem with the brake. I’ve been missing the first 50 metres, which you can’t give away to these guys. There’s a way to improve that, so if I can do that, it’ll be better.”

On whether the necessary technique is beginning to feel natural aboard the bike, Lowes said, “A lot more. I was talking to my crew chief Giulio [Nava]. Now I can actually put it into practice. Before I wasn’t confident enough to know where to go.

“Of course, I want bigger steps but I honestly feel like the puzzle, it’s nearly there. In some sessions, you see it. It means it’s going in a good way. I want to finish the next few races, build it up and finish the year strongly. That’s the goal.”

Lowes set the 17th fastest time of the day, and suffered from an engine issue at lunchtime on Monday.


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I don't understand it takes half a year to understand that there was a lot of work needed in this area. Everybody could see it was quite obvious that his moto2 breaking style was not going to work in MotoGP. The only person who actually did make it work was MM but you can't take him as a reference, he's just from another world and no one else on the grid will do what he did/does.

It really makes me wonder what kind of plan or training process he went through in all the previous tests, practice and qualify runs and races. Sounds a lot like a loose cannon and i'm starting to see where Aprilia's frustration is coming from. This is MotoGP and teams can expect riders to be at the world's top level, even as rookies. Breaking 10m before your team mate isn't acceptable unless you somehow make that up some other way, and that wasn't happening either.

No wonder he's always at the back of the grid. There's never been such amount of talent on the grid, someone who's not on the same level will stick out. And he's not the only Brit in the paddock in this situation either.

I gues  you mean BRAKING, right?

I gues you mean guess. 

Haha... touche'

I see it as a team failure, not a rider issue. They should be coaching him on what he needs to be doing and how.

Inclined to agree here Sqidd, should be a joint rider/team effort.

The team have been able to overlay the data from the two team-mates all year, they could have given a few pointers that for Sam changing braking style was required, if that's all that was needed.

He is a skilled rider, they provide him with his teammate's data, it shouldn't require coaching to see where and how much braking pressure Aleix is applying versus his own braking metrics.

I would practically guarantee this is not the first time he's ever seen Espargaro's data, not even Aprilia could be that stupid.

I can't accept this in F1, and I can't accept it in MotoGP either: a data analyst has to /tell the rider when to brake/, at each turn on the track? Who's riding the bike? I completely understand and encourage using data and technology to know more about what's happening on track... but there has to be a limit on how much "spoon-feeding" is being done by teams toward riders. I suspect that's where Aprilia has been, needing the rider to mature a bit, and figure these things out on his own.