Sam Lowes didn't even take part in last year's Qatar Moto2 Grand Prix due to pre-season injuries, but the Briton made a perfect return to Losail with a double victory from pole position in the 2021 season openers.

The Marc VDS rider held off the fellow Kalex of Ajo's Remy Gardner in both Losail races to take a 10-point title lead into the opening European event at Portimao next weekend.

“We had three weeks here in the desert with very changeable conditions. It was definitely not easy. But I think we saved the best for last!" said Lowes, is the first British rider to win the opening two races of the season in the intermediate category since Mike Hailwood in 1966.

"That was a really fast race pace – the fastest we’ve had in Qatar in Moto2. I’m really happy with how I approached these two races. I feel I’ve improved in myself and can be more relaxed in the race.

"I know it’s only the start of the year, but it’s been a really good start. To have somebody behind me all race and not make any mistakes is really important and that will give me a lot of confidence.

"When I won last year and last week [2.2s], I had a bigger gap so this was a bit different, but I managed fine and felt really comfortable."

Portimao was where Lowes, riding with a wrist fracture, narrowly lost out on the 2020 title after a final round showdown with Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini.

"I’m looking forward to getting to Portugal and being able to ride there with two hands this time!" he joked. "Last year that wasn’t the case.

"We’ve had a great few weeks, everyone is ready for home and I couldn’t be happier to take 50 points back.”

 

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