Sam Lowes has revealed a transmission issue was at fault for his premature exit from his first race back in the Moto2 class in Qatar, but remains convinced of his race winning potential with the current KTM package.

It was far from a straightforward return to the class, as Lowes struggled through the weekend to feel comfortable with Dunlop’s harder tyre allocation.

Brought to combat the higher temperatures that came with the earlier start time on race day, the harder rubber were unlike anything Lowes had tested over winter, and he later admitted he needed to “understand a way round” a lack of grip with the KTM chassis in future situations.

The race brought its own challenges, with the Swiss Innovative Investors runner hitting a false neutral on the first lap. A swift fight-back from a lowly 17th followed, with Lowes sitting ninth when the transmission issue resurfaced.

“It was tough on the first lap, when I was down in 17th,” said Lowes, uninjured in the fall. “If I could have had a clear track my pace was OK. I had a clear track for one lap and did a 2m 1.1s. That was my only clear lap, because I was in a group. I got from 17th to ninth, which isn’t easy to do.

“We struggled this weekend, as did the other two KTMs. If you look at the end of last year to today, they were quite a long way off really. So that’s good information for me. Obviously to be back in the battle, back in the race, it’s hard for me because it feels like I’ve had a year out from that.

“I hit a neutral in the race and honestly we need to analyse what happened. It’s strange because I hit neutral but couldn’t get it into gear. I was stamping on it but it wouldn’t go in.

“Here it’s dusty and all the rest of it. It’s a shame for me obviously. It’s not easy. I had [the same issue] on the first lap. That’s why I ran wide and was back in 17th. I was twelfth through the first couple of sectors and not too bad. Then back to 17th and it seemed to be getting worse and worse.

“Everyone can say, ‘It’s the same old Lowes.’ Don’t resent that. That’s fair enough. I’m different to what I was. It was just a tough weekend. I rode good. I passed a lot of people coming forward, battled hard which was nice. I just need to come back better for the next one.”

No sooner had Lowes dusted himself down from the spill than attentions were turned to round two in Argentina. His team’s reaction was a big positive, he said, and only provided him with further drive to reverse the result in the coming races.

“The team is fantastic. Honestly, I can’t praise them enough – how they’ve been today, and all the weekend. In my heart, after the year I’ve had and the hard times I’ve had, a bad day like that, and for them to treat me like they have, it’s massive,” he said. “Massive.”

“Now I want to get on the plane, go home and train. I feel so positive about it. We need to come back. I’m here to fight. This year’s going to be tough but I can definitely win races and be there. If it takes a year to get back and going again then I’ll come back next year and win. I’m here to get my name back at the top.”



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