Sam Lowes believes Sunday’s Moto2 showing at the Circuit of Catalunya displayed the necessary attributes to show he and his Swiss Innovative Investors squad are going “in the right direction” after a tough start to 2018.

The Englishman was forced into starting from the back of the grid due to a fuel pump issue preventing him from exiting pit-lane on time. “Just unlucky,” he later said. "One of them things."

Starting with 34 riders ahead was a big ask with his recent front-end struggles in mind, but Lowes quickly climbed the order, picking off twelve riders on lap one before mounting a charge through the point-scoring places. He went on finish a battling ninth.

Lowes has struggled to find a comfortable front-end feeling aboard KTM’s Moto2 chassis this year, and, through a variety of circumstances, managed just one top ten finish prior to last weekend.

Rider Ratings - Catalunya MotoGP

However, a setting change that altered how he and his machine loaded the front tyre paid off. Going off his race-pace, Lowes had good reason to believe he would have been in the thick of the podium fight, had his fuel pump not failed 20 minutes before the race start.

“We know things aren’t going amazing this year, so I don’t want to sugar coat it,” Lowes told “But that was just unlucky. We started the bike 20 minutes before. We went to warm it up. Something happened with the fuel pump, I believe. It’s one of them things.

“I started at the back. I was straight to the grip, and didn’t even get a sighting lap. I just had a warm-up lap so in the first laps the tyres weren’t up to speed straight away. Then I felt good. This track – you’ll hear the MotoGP riders say it – is front end, front end, front end [critical]. It’s all about the front end.

“I’ve been moaning about my front end all year, so to do a race like that at this track, passing that many people shows we’re making a good step in the right direction. We didn’t make any mistakes all weekend. I ran on a couple of times in T1 but I didn’t crash. This is a good thing as well.

“I rode well. I feel I could have had a podium, or been in the fight. The pace looks similar to them. On some laps I was the second fastest guy on track. I didn’t have the pace of Quartararo. But of [Miguel] Oliveira maybe, of [Brad] Binder, the top four or five, I was there.

“That’s good. I dug in and showed I have heart. I’ve had a really difficult year and a half. I can be proud of myself, to keep coming back. No one can question that. If you keep doing that, we know we can get there. A very positive result.”

Expanding on the set-up change that gave him a better front-end feel, Lowes explained, “We’re just trying to load it in a different way. It’s that part of going into the corner, I just didn’t understand it. I was coming in from crashes and saying, ‘I don’t know what happened.’ The difference was too small to be a crash. I was on the edge but not going quick enough.

“This weekend we just put it more in the range, were more progressive throughout to get to that position a bit later in the corner. Still we need to improve. The new forks that we’ll get this week should help a lot. They’re in that direction, especially for my riding style.

“But it was good. It was good to pass a lot of people on the brakes, a good improvement for me and I know that even if I was at the front I could have fought. I had the bike to pass and battle, which is important.”

Lowes attended a test at Aragon this weekend, where he was slated to test new WP forks, which he felt would aid his cause further. After that comes Assen, a track that Lowes loves, and one at which he scored a World Supersport race win in 2013, as well as a Moto2 podium two years later.

“I’ve had very positive feedback from the team and KTM for the test this week. We’re looking forward to that at Aragon. It’s going to be hot, which will be good for us. That’s where we need to work.

“Assen is a good track for me. I’ve always been fast there. You ride a lot with the rear at Assen. It’s a good result to go into Assen. Of course we want podiums, we want race wins, but that was a good ride today and it got us back on the road.”