Sam Lowes described his seventh place finish in Austin as “not good” but felt he is laying the groundwork for podium challenges in the coming weeks after an up and down start to the season.

The Englishman’s third place in qualifying for the Grand Prix of the Americas coupled with strong showings through free practice hinted at a victory challenge in the third Moto2 race of the year.

Lowes explained he had loaded the rear tyre throughout the weekend to find grip, but once the race started, and the pace increased, he soon encountered serious rear tyre wear.

“Honestly, over the weekend I loaded the rear quite a lot to find grip, and in the runs we did it was OK,” Lowes said in Texas. “But then in the race, it was a bit harder. The pace was quicker and I destroyed the tyre.

“Actually, it was hard, but I had a good feeling at the start. Honestly laps ten and eleven I made two mistakes. I wanted to overtake. It was a bit wide. One, I made a mistake onto the back straight.

“I said, ‘Right, if I keep pushing like this, I’m going to crash.’ I just picked a pace and kept it to the end.”

Lowes was holding a strong fourth place until lap nine, when Jorge Navarro and Luca Marini closed in from behind.

Having slipped to seventh on lap twelve, the Gresini Racing rider rallied to challenge the fading Alex Marquez and Marini on the final lap. Had the race been 19 laps and not 18, the 28-year old may have placed two positions higher.

“I still nearly beat Marini and Marquez,” he said. “If you had told me at the end of last year I would have been in a battle with Marini and Marquez on the last lap… I was fucking nowhere.

“So I’ve got to come back. I want to win. But step by step. Overall, it was not a disaster. The end result was not good, but at least I had a go.”

It was a welcome finish for Lowes after the disappointment of Argentina, where an early fall dashed his podium hopes.

Next up comes Jerez, where he and KTM’s Brad Binder dominated proceedings during February’s preseason test. Lowes is hopeful of “another step” in Andalusia.

“I finished this race and get to Jerez, which I like. Another step. It’s important. It’s important to keep pushing, keep working.”

 

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