Alex Lowes feels the area in need of biggest improvement with his 2016 package 'is probably me' as he continues to adapt his riding style to the demands of Crescent Yamaha's R1 machine.
Having finished the final test of preseason at Phillip Island eighth overall, just over half a second off the fastest time, Lowes also admitted his priority was ensuring he is at his strongest when the first race of the new season begins on Sunday.
Lowes, who is now riding his third different bike in four years, stated that he felt 'uncomfortable' on the R1 through the two-day test as the chassis and engine differ greatly from the Suzuki GSX-R1000 on which he competed in 2013 and '14.
“The main area I need to improve is probably me,” began the 25-year old, now in his third year in the class. “I need to start riding the bike to its potential in certain areas. I need to change my style a bit. I need to learn but I feel I'm making some steps in the right direction.
“I feel very uncomfortable and not good but I'm not as slow as I feel so that's obviously a good thing. I'm looking forward to the weekend. I want to make sure that I'm at my best on Saturday and Sunday. Too many times in the past I've been fast in the test and then got caught out. If we can make a couple of steps forward on the race weekend we should be alright.
“I'm trying to take a step-by-step approach and not get carried away and not try too hard in testing. Obviously it's the first time that I've been doing some laps but I need to start riding the bike a bit differently and I've got a lot to learn. I feel alright and I'm hoping to peak at the right time over the race weekend.
“There are lots of different things [to get used to]. Obviously the chassis and the engine, the character of the bike is something. I've come off a Honda and a Suzuki so I'm learning a lot. It's quite nice and step-by-step we'll be alright.”
New team-mate Sylvain Guintoli was glowing in his assessment of the R1's ability to manage its tyres, claiming this was a certain sign of the level of the machine's base set-up.
Lowes was also fast on Tuesday afternoon in hot conditions, when he placed third overall behind Guintoli and Jonathan Rea. Still, the Englishman feels that such is the competitiveness of the 2016 field, he has yet to find an advantage in that department.
"I don't really know. It [Tyre management] seems ok. I'm sure all the guys are going to be quick at the end of a race. I think a few years ago when the tyres didn't have the same consistent performance… I think now Kawasaki and Ducati are so in the ball-park with electronics... I'm just looking for a solid start, to learn as much as I can and I'm looking forward to it.