28 March 2013
WSS: Sam Lowes - Q&A
All weekend my rhythm and pace was fastest, but I got an average start. I managed to get to the front but we'd chosen the wrong gearbox ratio, the gap between 5th and 6th was too big and every time I changed up at the end of the straight, Sofuoglu would pass me and then I was held up for the rest of the lap until I could pass him again. He saw that, and being the champion and rider that he is, that meant he could then control the race because he knew he could always pass me back at the end of the straight.
If I'd had two laps where Kenan hadn't passed me, I could have pulled away and won, but that just shows what a class rider Kenan is.
The race didn't go according to plan with the tyre either; I'd done lots of different length runs and was confident beforehand. But I'd got, in my opinion, a bad tyre from the start so didn't have a massive amount of grip and in the last two laps I just had nothing. When I got off the bike in park ferme, the rear tyre was just full of holes.
Deep down I was a little disappointed because we could have won the race, but my team have hammered it into me that coming away from PI with second place points is no bad result.
Team Yakhnich has a rider called Nadia Yakhnich, is she the owner?
No, she's the owner's wife and she's got hobbies like pole dancing and aircraft acrobatics, but the team owner Alexander Yakhnich is a very cool guy and has a lot of ideas to progress the team. They're all very proud people who want to show what modern Russia can do.
But the team base is in Italy and most of my mechanics are Italian.
Some of them worked with Chaz Davies in his championship-winning year. One of my mechanics, Andrea Ballerini, is actually a 125GP race winner. Everyone in the garage communicates in English. But I get on great with them. I feel they believe in me, and I certainly believe in them.
Do you have any ambitions towards the MotoGP paddock?
Not right now because at the moment I don't think they know what's going on. If and when I do achieve my goals in WSBK, I'm hoping that MotoGP will have a clearer direction. At the moment there's CRTs, next year maybe there are no CRTs and it's difficult to get a clear idea of what's going on. Having said that, it is the pinnacle of the sport so perhaps I need to look at it again in a couple of years' time when I've got more experience.
If I do win the WSS championship this year, I'll only be 22 and I'll be the youngest to do it.
But you've got to beat Kenan first…
He's a good guy, a lot of people don't like him and I have to admit that in the past he wasn't my favourite person. But I do respect him for his achievements and his work ethic.
I think it will come down to me and him this year. Kenan works harder every year and is more determined every year, but I've got no mental problem with him. To me he's just another rider, a very good one, but just another one. It's not like I haven't beaten him before, I just need to do it consistently.
My big thing is that I have to do what I did in PI, when the situation isn't right, I just need to sit back and take the points. For me, it's all about managing the bad days; if the win is there I'll go for it. My bad days have to be third place finishes rather than last year when they were DNFs.
Why did you have bad days last year?
The main thing was the focus, like I said before.
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