Alex Lowes: Factory Ducati ‘is a special bit of kit, best bike on the grid’

Alex Lowes believes Ducati are still the manufacturer to beat in WorldSBK after Nicolo Bulega’s impressive pre-season form.

Alex Lowes Portimao
Alex Lowes Portimao

Third fastest at the Portimao WorldSBK test, Alex Lowes was mightily impressive as he built on a strong outing at Jerez, where he again outpaced new team-mate Axel Bassani.

Lowes, who finished just over three tenths off Toprak Razgatlioglu, said most of pre-season testing has been about ironing out Kawasaki's problems over long runs.

And the Brit is confident they’ve found improvements: “Here, Jerez and the end of last season we’ve been working really hard on used tyres, long runs,” Lowes told

“It’s an area where we’ve been struggling. Today was the first time we used a qualifiyng tyre and I was able to do a good lap, my best ever lap at Portimao.

“This means that the work we’re doing is working. My pace was strong today. Think I had a really strong pace, enjoyed riding the bike and did 90 laps.

“We’ve made a step there and made the bike easier to ride. It was good if you got everything right but the window to ride was quite small.

“We’ve opened that window up a bit. We can be excited about the first round.”

But while the improvements on Lowes’s side of the garage have been clear, Bassani has struggled so far to adapt to the ZX-10RR.

One rider who has jumped onto a new bike - although he was previously aboard the Panigale V2 in WorldSSP - is Nicolo Bulega, who finished second behind Razgatlioglu.

The factory Ducati rider has been the star of pre-season testing, and Lowes was not surprised by the Italian’s performances.

“I expected Bulega to be strong,” added Lowes. “All the Ducatis but especially the factory Ducati is a special bit of kit. Best bike on the grid I believe.

“And he’s a Supersport world champion and has always shown a lot of promise.

“He’s where we would expect him to be. He’s not going to be slow.”

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