An exclusive interview with sole British hope in the 2015 Moto2 series Sam Lowes.
You're back from pre-season testing and gearing up for 2015, how did testing in Jerez go?

Sam Lowes
I was really up for it after training a lot over the winter and looked back on what I needed to improve on last year. Testing went about 100 times better than I thought. The new chassis is different with a new aluminium swing arm compared to the carbon one we had all last year. I'd been pushing to try it a lot last year even if it turned out rubbish because everyone else was on it and doing better. And fuck me it was mega!

For me the bike is now at the same level as everyone else which is good but also with only three Speed Ups on the grid it is different. There are so many Kalex bikes on the grid so hopefully at some tracks we can get an advantage over them.

Last year the bike was too far behind even though the engines are the same and the tyres are the same, so there are not that many variables. Being on a different sort of bike should be an advantage because all those on the same won't have much of an advantage compared to me.
What were the aims at pre-season testing?

Sam Lowes
I believe a lot in myself and at the tests I feel I've got my confidence back on the bike. We have a competitive team and I know I can do a good job.

Coming into GP last year was hard. I'd come across as a World Supersport champion which is seen as a less competitive series, but it is still hard to win. Last year I knew I was riding shit because I didn't have confidence or feeling for the bike. But now the team has changed the chassis and suspension to give me the feeling back in the bike then I'll feel good.

Testing at Jerez with everyone was interesting because it was a track I wasn't very good at last year and struggled when it got hot.

Any new parts we get from Speed Up, because there are only three of us, we have to test them all. In the first test we had the new aluminium swing arm with three different versions with different stiffness. The three of us had to test each one so we are fully comfortable with them.

For the next test we have a new fuel tank to try. When you've got a full fuel tank with this bike we get a lot of transfer of weight under braking as the fuel shifts forward. So the new tank is a little smaller and has slots inside to stop the fuel moving. So the test will be full of small stuff like testing the new fuel tank with only two litres of fuel in it. All little stuff but add up to make a big step. Then on the last day-and-a-half we'll be working on race set-up.
How different is racing in Moto2 compared to World Supersport?

Sam Lowes
Basically it is like going from driving a normal Honda Civic car, do a few little things to it to make it a race car but in effect you can still use it on the roads. Then you get on a Grand Prix bike everything is so stiff and solid and you need to be racing it fast to get the most out of it. Supersport is more user friendly, the bike is soft and at slower speed you get a better feeling and confidence. In a Grand Prix bike if you go slow you'll never get the feeling, you have to ride it fast.
So switching from Supersport to Grand Prix, how much did you have to change yourself?

Sam Lowes
Massively. The tyres were a big thing. In Supersport they use Pirelli tyres but in Moto2 it is Dunlop. So not only was the bike a lot stiffer the tyres were stiffer too. So you've got to be strong on the brakes to get the heat in the tyres but you can also run much higher corner speeds with the Dunlop because it won't lose its shape. So trying to get the bet laps times between Supersport and Moto2 couldn't be more different even though they are both 600cc engines.

In Supersport you've got to go as hard as you can into the corner, stop, then get out. In Moto2 you've got to be aggressive into the corner, let off the brakes and run through the corner to get a good exit. It's totally different.
What are your goals for this season?

Sam Lowes
To win. Just because I've been fast in the tests doesn't mean anything but I want to be in the fight for the top three and fight for the championship. That is one massive step but it is one I think I can do.

If I want to get to MotoGP this year is my big chance. If I can do very well on a bike which is perceived in the paddock to be a slower bike then I can go to MotoGP. That is my goal and so I'm focusing on finishing on the podium as much as I can. I need to prove I can cut it in GP racing.
It is a different lifestyle too MotoGP compared to World Superbike and this season you are the only Brit on the Moto2 grid. What has it been like adjusting to it?

Sam Lowes
It's alright. None of the other riders talk massively to one another and I don't have a problem with anybody. You keep yourself to yourself. The other Brits in Moto3 and MotoGP are also sound so it's no problem. People told me before I went over it isn't as friendly compared to World Supersport, which is true, but it is different. It's a higher level to its going to be different because everyone wants to be beat everyone else.

My only negative is I wish there were more Brits in there, at Moto2 and Moto3, because in effect the only way to get into MotoGP is through these series. We need more there.
Did you receive any offers for a MotoGP ride this winter?

Sam Lowes
Last year I had a two-year contract and at the end of 2014 I was lucky enough to have quite a lot of interest which surprised me after the year I'd had. But the fact that I'm on a Speed Up bike against a lot of Kalex and I'm new to the paddock helped. Last year was a disaster but I showed my potential despite the year I had.

This year I need to make it happen. That is it, I need to do a good job. A good job is finishing on the podium and winning races and if I can do that then next year will be very good. I've got a lot of motivation to win in Moto2 and become the first British World champion since Barry Sheene. I'm convinced if I work hard enough and improve then I can do it. I know I can improve and after these tests I feel good. If you are Moto2 World champion you are going to get a factory bike in MotoGP, that is what we need.
Moving on to your brother Alex, he was impressing a lot of people during testing but it failed to come to fruition at the season opener at Phillip Island. Has he said much about it?

Sam Lowes
He will be fast this year. Phillip Island is always a strange race because it has a big build up as the first race of the year and very early on the calendar. Everything that could have gone wrong for him did out there. The first race he was riding the second bike because the first one broke during warm up.

He's got a good team around him and he's been fast. Last year he was fast over one lap but now he is fast over a race distance so he'll be back.
How much has he spoken about it to you?

Sam Lowes
We're really, really close and I'm his biggest fan as well as his biggest critic. I know how good he is more than he knows himself and I know when it works this year he can do a really good job.
Looking ahead, how much would you love to get on the same track as him and go racing competitively?

Sam Lowes
Oh, 100%. My dream would be preferably in MotoGP, but in whatever class to be team-mates. We get on so well, have a great relationship so if he gives me some criticism it's only to help me. Not to be a knob, just to help, which is good. I've always been one to aim to beat my team-mate and so if it was Alex I'd want to beat him anyway, it would be competitive but in a good way. Sometimes if you are competitive with your team-mate and they beat you then you throw your toys out the pram, but if he beat me I'd have great respect for him. For a team I think it would be great in the future if we could be team-mates. But we both have to pull our fingers out and do a good job first!
You're not the only sibling pairings in the motorcycle racing world, with the Espargaros brothers and the Marquez brothers. What is it about brothers racing?

Sam Lowes
In our sport having two people competing against each other as you grow up really helps. You can learn off each other, when you young if you are riding in the fields you haven't got anyone to compare yourself against but when I rode with Alex we could both pick up twice the amount of experience. It gets you used to that competitive environment too, which helps a lot.

With Alex and I being twins it also helps even more because we've done everything together. Riding together from a young age helps a lot. If you get into motocross or minimoto at a young age but aren't used to racing other people it can overawe you but if you are used to it, it can give you that jump in years.
Looking at the future of Grand Prix racing in Britain, we have an update on the Circuit of Wales, with MotoGP going back to Silverstone for 2015 and 2016. What are you thoughts on this?

Sam Lowes
I've got no problem with going back to Silverstone, love it there. It's a great track. It's a solid GP track, typical and quiet flat. All the corners are good and it's good to race on. It isn't a special track like Phillip Island but it's solid and I love racing there in front of British fans.

Donington Park I'm a little bit biased because I live up that way, it is a fantastic track with lots of character. But for the GP riders and Europeans it's better to be at Silverstone but for British riders, we would have done better at Donington because of the nature of the track. Perhaps some people think it is a bit sketchy, not as much run-off and a bit more old school. A ballsy track. That is what I mean about Silverstone, it's solid and I'm happy it is there but it is a normal GP track, Donington is not. It is different.
What sort of track at the Circuit of Wales would you like to see, more of a Donington Park or Silverstone?

Sam Lowes
I'd like to see one with heart and character which is different from the rest. The most exciting thing for me is Circuit of Wales have got an opportunity to build a brand new GP track. I don't know what I'd want to see but the people involved they can build something special. That is what Britain needs to bring back the love to the fans. If the fans can go there and feel and, as well as us riders, then British racing will take off again.



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