After bravely staying in the 2020 Moto2 title battle until the final round despite broken bones in his wrist, a fully fit Sam Lowes came out fighting with victories in this year's Qatar season openers.

With the only riders to finish above him last season, Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini, both moving on to MotoGP, the Losail double underlined Lowes as the early title favourite.

But the Englishman was put on his back foot by a fall next time in Portimao, the first of three non-scores in the space of four races that saw title momentum switch irreversibly to Ajo team-mates Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez.

Lowes spent the mid-season without even a podium, then suffered two further DNFs, before a much-needed victory at Misano and rostrum at Portimao fuelled a rise to fourth in the final standings.

"I’m slightly disappointed with [fourth] because we started the season so strongly with wins in the first two races in Qatar," said Lowes.

"I then made some mistakes and lost points and in doing that I lost some momentum and some confidence. I certainly want to do better than fourth overall next year.”

“You always learn something that can help you in the future and this year I felt I controlled my emotions a lot better," he added. "Sometimes I should have accepted the position I was in and finished the race rather than trying to push for a little bit more.

"It’s all so easy to say after the event but I have learnt a lot in my second year with the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team. They’ve helped improve my riding and we all know as a group there are a lot of things we can improve on to help us fight for the title next year.”

Fighting for the title is considered a 'must' for the 31-year-old, who made his Moto2 debut as the reigning World Supersport champion back in 2014, interupted by a sour 2017 season in MotoGP with Aprilia.

“My goals for next year are clear. I must be fighting for the World Championship, and I believe both myself and the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team can do that together," Lowes said.

"I want to be competitive and battling at the front in every race because if you do that, you’ll be a title contender.

"I need to improve in a couple of areas because the competition in Moto2 is so tight, but I aim to come out fighting for the World Championship from the first race.”

In terms of where Lowes feels he can be stronger next season, the #22 unsurprisingly cites the need to sometimes settle for strong points when he doesn't have victory pace, rather than risk a fall.

“I need to understand that in some races when you’re in a good position and maybe not feeling the best with the package, it is crucial to finish and score points," he explained.

"That helps you build momentum for the next race because each time you DNF you must pick yourself up and start again at the next race. I know I can be a little bit smarter in certain situations and in terms of my riding I still need to improve in the middle of the turn and on corner exit.”

Lowes will have a new team-mate next season with Augusto Fernandez replaced by Tony Arbolino. The young Italian finished 14th overall in his debut Moto2 campaign with Intact GP, claiming a best race finish of fourth in Le Mans.

“Tony has proven how fast and talented he is because in 2020 he was fighting for the title in Moto3 all the way down to the last race and that’s not easy," Lowes said. "It wasn’t easy in his first year in Moto2, but this is such a competitive class, and it is hard to understand his level after just one season.

"He did some great rides in Le Mans and Austin where he was very fast. To be as fast as he was on a difficult track like Austin, having never ridden a Moto2 bike there was impressive.

"I expect him to be fast next year and I’m looking forward to working with him because he seems a really cool and great guy. It will be a nice ambience together, which I think was missing at times this year, and I’m sure we can help each other improve.”

With Gardner, Raul Fernandez and Marco Bezzecchi moving up to MotoGP, Lowes will again be the highest-ranked rider to stay in the Moto2 class for 2022.