Alex Lowes saw positives in his assessment of a difficult opening World Superbike round at Phillip Island, and stated that he needs to 'refresh, refocus and come back with a positive attitude' for the second round in Thailand.
A track that rarely lends a touch of fortune to the Pata Yamaha man, Lowes fell out of the leading group in race one after a wrong front tyre choice, a crash that was compounded in Sunday's morning warm-up when a missed a gear caused another spill.
“I had a problem this morning,” began Lowes. “It wasn't a big problem but I missed a gear and had a crash. It was my fault really. I was trying to smoothen myself with the gear change and I wasn't positive enough with my change through turns ten and eleven. It jumped back in and I was just at the point of tipping in so it caused a high-side.”
Although the 25-year old was unharmed, his first bike wasn't and thus he began race two on his spare machine, one that had only 'done two laps in its existence.' A 'couple of issues' made themselves known early on in race two, pushing Lowes off line at Lukey Heights as he held fourth.
Those technical problems prevented him from placing higher than 14th, meaning once again Lowes' speed around the Australian track wasn't reflected in his results. “Feel like a teenager,” he wrote on Twitter soon after. “Got a big crush on Phillip island love this place but it doesn't love me back!!!”
Still, considering how Lowes felt on Friday, when he acknowledged he was trying to “force it a little bit but with this bike you can't afford to do that," his speed on Saturday showed the necessary steps were taken. To be fighting in the front group in both races before encountering problems saw Lowes looking toward round two in Thailand, where “I need to start my season properly.”
“My goal for this year is to finish every race and get the best result possible. Unfortunately today the best was 14th. I need to regroup for Thailand. As negative as today and yesterday have been, there were some positives with riding the bike.
“At the start of the week I didn't really understand what was going on. Now I have quite good understanding of the bike. I know how to ride it to its potential. It's quite hard to do that as a rider so I've taken a bit of confidence from that.
“Obviously I need to start my season properly in Thailand. I'm looking forward to it already. The guys have been working hard as they always do, it's a short winter in Superbike. Everyone of the mechanics works twenty four seven to get everything ready. You always feel like you need a little bit more luck. That's racing and unfortunately for us it just started on a bit of a bad note. Totally honestly, I'm not riding horrendous. I know I'll be alright. It's a long season. Like I said, my goal is every race I want to bring the bike back as high up as I can and hopefully we'll start getting towards the podium. I don't feel as bad as it looks."
Of his attempts at changing his riding style, Lowes saw the improvements made from Friday to Saturday, and his recent recovery from injury as reason to believe his fortunes should change in South East Asia.
“I've sat down with all these boys. I don't mind admitting it. They've got more experience than me. We put all our heads together. I just want to do well. That's just normal for someone that knows they can do good. I tried to force it a little bit but with this bike you can't afford to do that. You have to settle in. I think I did quite well, just looking at the geometry on Friday and Saturday.
“I was really fast on Saturday, more or less as fast as the other guys. It's been a tough winter for me. I had the injury last year. When you do have a bit of an injury you put more pressure on yourself to get ready. You're working hard, going to the physio and putting yourself through a bit of pain. Everything considered, I moved onto Saturday and did quite a good job.
“I made a small mistake in the race which had a big consequence. If I had brought the bike back in seventh place it'd have been a different story. Today was what it was. You have them days in racing and I've had enough of them. A fresh start in Thailand. I know I can ride the bike as well as anyone else and we need to try and do the best we can there. Whether that's a fourth place, a fifth place or a sixth place, I don't really mind. Start off in a good way from the first practice sessions and get the most out of the race.”