Sam Lowes believes he is gradually assembling the pieces of the MotoGP puzzle after a positive post-race test at Brno, where the Englishman focussed mainly on improving his braking technique aboard Aprilia’s RS-GP.

The Moto2 race winner had highlighted the first 30 metres of the braking zone as the area most in need of improvement. With the engine braking available on a MotoGP machine, as well as Aprilia’s seamless gearbox, Lowes found he has been missing some braking intensity in the first part of corner entry since his graduation to the premier class. 

Monday was then a case of working in that direction, with Lowes using Brno’s numerous heavy braking zones to hone his technique, and work on a suitable set-up for the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix, held at the brake-heavy Red Bull Ring.

Having overlaid his data with that of team-mate Aleix Espargaro, the 26-year old could trace his progress over the day, and believes these small steps will bring about some strong results imminently. “I honestly feel like the puzzle, it’s nearly there,” he said.

“We’ve been working on my braking,” said Lowes, after ending his testing duties after three hours of running due to an infection in the wound on the foot he injured last Friday. “I’ve got a tendency a bit to shut off and then brake and that’s something from Moto2. I’ve been working on that.

“Basically I always I take a bit of a gear as I shut off. I backshift real quick. Last year I’d have the clutch in, you see, and then backshift. Then it sort of messes up the engine brake and means I can’t get enough brake pressure in the first 30 metres of braking. I miss that little bit.

“Then after that my trace is exactly the same as my team-mate. Probably now, I’m braking five or ten metres earlier than him, not fifty. It’s a little bit. Today into turn one, I was the same as him. That’s good.

“Turn one, four and the last corner. The last corner I was still missing a little bit. In the two areas I was trying you could overlay our two graphs and it was nearly identical so that’s positive steps.

“My style in Moto2 was so different. It was quite extravagant in one direction. It’s not so much out of the range, it depends how you ride a Moto2 bike. But then it’s always another level with the seamless, with the electronics, and everything else.

“It’s more for me the problem with the brake. I’ve been missing the first 50 metres, which you can’t give away to these guys. There’s a way to improve that, so if I can do that, it’ll be better.”

On whether the necessary technique is beginning to feel natural aboard the bike, Lowes said, “A lot more. I was talking to my crew chief Giulio [Nava]. Now I can actually put it into practice. Before I wasn’t confident enough to know where to go.

“Of course, I want bigger steps but I honestly feel like the puzzle, it’s nearly there. In some sessions, you see it. It means it’s going in a good way. I want to finish the next few races, build it up and finish the year strongly. That’s the goal.”

Lowes set the 17th fastest time of the day, and suffered from an engine issue at lunchtime on Monday.



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