Sam Lowes: “I'm not going back to MotoGP... I’d like Superbike in the future’”

Sam Lowes feels he’s riding ‘better than ever’ in Moto2 but accepts he won’t get another MotoGP chance and admits World Superbike is ‘on his radar’ - but will it happen for 2024?
Sam Lowes, Moto2 race, Spanish MotoGP, 30 April
Sam Lowes, Moto2 race, Spanish MotoGP, 30 April

With two poles and a win in the last two rounds, Lowes is showing the speed needed to battle the likes of Pedro Acosta and his Marc VDS team-mate Tony Arbolino for this year’s Moto2 crown.

But even if Lowes were to bridge the sizeable 55-point gap to Arbolino and clinch the Moto2 crown, traditionally a springboard into the premier class, the Englishman believes all places on the 2024 MotoGP grid would already have been filled.

The next few weeks are crucial for rider contracts and, speaking to on Thursday at Mugello, Lowes indicated he needs to decide between staying with Marc VDS in Moto2, where he has taken seven of his ten GP wins, or joining brother Alex for a fresh challenge in World Superbike.

Lowes, who spent a difficult 2018 with Aprilia in MotoGP before returning to Moto2, was also asked about rumours he could combine both possibilities, by switching to WorldSBK with Marc VDS.

Either way, Lowes made clear that WorldSBK is "massively on my radar"…

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Two poles and a win in the last two rounds, does it feel like Sam Lowes is back to his best?

Sam Lowes:

I think that some parts of my riding are better now than ever. Jerez for example, the way I rode to win there, leading every lap. It’s hard to win like that, especially around a track that we've all ridden at. So I was really happy with it.

Le Mans [falling on the opening lap] was a small mistake, with a big punishment. I lost the front on the right side which was a strange one. Maybe I didn't ride around behind enough people in practice and then it just pulled me in a bit in the race, behind Tony and Lopez.

So that was a bit frustrating. But the team did an amazing job to try and get me back out for the restart.

I felt good all year. America and Argentina were difficult weekends with the weather and the new schedule in Moto2 means if you don't get a good feeling straight away, it's easy to be a little bit out of it.

Is it all about regaining fitness?

Sam Lowes:

In 2121, I wasn't really a match for the two KTMs, Raul and Remy, but it was still a solid year. Third in the championship, I won some races and was quite happy.

Last year I did no winter testing with my wrist, when I had tendonitis. The first few races were OK and then I just got in a bit of a bad run. I got taken out in America by Chantra, got taken out here by Tony, we all crashed in Portugal with the rain. I just got a bad run going and then I did my shoulder in at Silverstone.

It was really bad. A lot worse than I thought, even until December, January this year I was struggling. I had three months last year where I didn't sleep well. I had loads of pain, no power, no movement. I was trying to ride and was slow obviously. I couldn’t even really get tucked in.

We didn't do most of the last nine races and then at the start of this year, I was quite fast in testing, but a bit rusty at the races.

Now I just feel back on it, I feel back to normal. I'm enjoying it, focused. It's all about confidence. This class is so tight, if you're a little bit off, you're 11th or 12th, and you're searching for something.

Now I'm up there. I feel good. I’m riding well. It's a fine line.

Is it satisfying to be racing and beating people like your team-mate Arbolino and Acosta, both seen as future MotoGP stars?

Sam Lowes:

I take a lot of pride in that. And also looking at the guys in MotoGP now, like Bezzecchi, a fantastic rider, I’ve shared a podium with most of them in Moto2, probably beaten them as much as they beat me.

Obviously, I had my chance in MotoGP. It didn’t work out. But I’m lucky to have been able to race against all those people. On my day I was as quick as them, which is a nice feeling.

Sam and Alex Lowes, Emilia-Romagna WorldSBK, 4 June
Sam and Alex Lowes, Emilia-Romagna WorldSBK, 4 June

‘I'm not going back to MotoGP... I’d like Superbike in the future’

What about the future? This is your ninth year in Moto2, in the past we saw riders choose to stay in 125 and 250cc, do you want to carry on in Moto2? But there are also rumours about Superbike…

Sam Lowes:

Honestly, for me this year the edge has been taken a little bit off [Moto2] with the new schedule, I'm not enjoying it as much. In the overseas races, when we were a bit unlucky with the weather, in Argentina and America, I think I did 50 laps over the weekend. Even at Le Mans, I think we only did 12 laps on the qualifying day.

I don't enjoy that much because I feel like if you don't have a good feeling in the first session and you're on the back foot a bit, you have no time to recover. I don't really agree with how that is. There's a lot of expense for the team being here.

That said, the younger riders, that have come up through the Spanish championship and the Red Bull rookies, are used to not having much track time. And they react really well.

For me, not having a warm-up was a massive shock. But talk to some other guys and they don't even really [notice]. It is what it is for me, it’s not a complaint, it’s just that’s what I’ve been used to until now. When I first came here we had four 45-minute sessions and a 20-minute warm-up before the race.

I don't feel old at 32, but the young guys are coming through and I’m a bit older than them. I know I'm not going back to MotoGP. I could win every race and I won't go to MotoGP. So it's normal for me to look a bit around.

Obviously, me and Alex, we're twins but we're so close anyway. So I go to the Superbike races just because he is there, and also I go with Marina [Rossi, Marc VDS team director] because we travel as a family. People sometimes forget we’re also husband and wife! We’ve been to BSB this year as well.

But yeah, for me as a rider individually, I would like to go to Superbike in the future. I don't know how immediate. But it's massively on my radar.

For the team, I don't know. I think they're committed to this championship and they're going to continue in this championship. They are leading the standings at the minute with Tony and we're leading the Teams’ championship. Me, Tony and Pedro are the only people to win a race so far.

So for me, [superbike] is something on my radar. But the way I’ve started this year, and especially the experience I've got, I could also stay in Moto2. I’ve got a couple of options but if I did stay [in Moto2] I’d stay with this team. Because it's the best and I feel lucky to be part of it.

Tony and Pedro will be in MotoGP in the near future, maybe next year… If Tony moves it’s also maybe important for [Marc VDS] to have an experienced guy [here].

But I would like to go [to WorldSBK]. I like the idea of three races a weekend. More track time. The older I get, the more I want to ride. I’d race 25 times a year if I could!

So if I have the chance to ride more, it's something that appeals to me a lot. And I feel like [there's no point] doing too long in Moto2, given the fact that I won't be going to MotoGP again, I had my chance.

Even if you won the Moto2 title?

Sam Lowes:

But you win the championship late in the year and I would say the good [MotoGP] contracts are being signed around Assen.

I also understand that [team side of things] maybe more than some riders because of Marina and the good relationship I have with Marc [Van Der Straten].

I had a chance in MotoGP. It didn’t work out, for whatever reason. I’m partly to blame, other people are party to blame. It’s just how it is. Not a problem. I can live with that.

But if I do too long here, I’ll finish my career as a Moto2 rider. I feel like while I’m fast, enjoying it and motivated, if I go there [WorldSBK] on good form - now or in the close future - I can do some good there.

There are some guys there doing well that I’ve raced with and I know more or less how I could do. So it's interesting for me to have three or four years there, learn a lot and grab some more years out of my career. You’re made to feel old [here] but I feel like I’m only just getting going!

So on that side, I’m interested and want to go. I've got a couple of potential options. But for the [Marc VDS] team, they're committed to here. I don't know what their plan is.

Sam Lowes, Moto2 race, Spanish MotoGP 30 April
Sam Lowes, Moto2 race, Spanish MotoGP 30 April

You don’t want to leave Marc VDS but you’re tempted by Superbike, so it might be the ideal situation if Marc VDS did run a Superbike team?

Sam Lowes:

If you’re talking like that, of course. I have so much respect for Marc. In 2016, I won in Aragon. Alex Marquez and Franco Morbidelli were with me on the podium. I was already with Marina then, so I knew Marc, and he said, ‘one day I want to see the #22 on my bike’.

We all laughed a bit but finally made it happen in 2020 and I nearly won the championship. Marc’s done a lot of good things for me and I feel like we’ve done some good things together.

Marc VDS is a high-level team so any championship they run in, any rider would be interested in racing for them.

But the rumour side of it [Marc VDS in WorldSBK]… we’ve spoken about it in jest, because they know I can’t do Moto2 forever. And there’s some other things that could happen for me there [WorldSBK]. So tongue in cheek ‘let’s go together’. But at the moment it’s just that.

To put a team together and go there doesn’t happen overnight.

And you will have to take a decision about next year soon…

Sam Lowes:

I will have to, in the next few weeks. I love it here, I’m proud to be a grand prix winner, even one grand prix win was a massive thing for me in my career. I understand the level of the paddock and the people. I’ve got nothing but respect for everybody here.

I’m not on my way down. Last year I put down to injury. It was not about motivation or enjoyment. I was in a tough moment. People have tough moments, even Marc Marquez, not that I’m comparing my situation to his, but I’ve come out of it and I’m riding well.

They don’t give grand prix wins away and I rode well in Jerez. I’m proud of that.

I just need to be clever. I can go and have another career, but something different. I’ve won the World Supersport Championship. I'm a winner in Moto2 and can still fight for the championship this year. 15 races to go is a lot. Who knows?

[WorldSBK] is on my radar. I am undecided right now. I would like to go, but I also love this team.

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