“I’m strong, I’m fast… I can be in the mix tomorrow” – Alex Lowes revels in P1 on Friday

After all of the predicting, excitement and talk of the new names, refreshed rider line-up and possibilities for some huge shocks, it was Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who came to the fore to remind everyone that he’s got what it takes to battle it out at the front. A race winner at Phillip Island in his debut weekend for Kawasaki, the British rider enjoyed a day of putting his ZX-10RR through its paces.

Leading the Kawasaki project in 2024 with new crew chief Pere Riba, Lowes started the day in second position but only set four laps. However, in the afternoon, he flew to top spot and set a new lap record in the process, even if the 1’29.042 will be vulnerable moving into Saturday and the remainder of the weekend. Spending a lot of time on understanding the tyre performance level and which compound will help him more during the shorter stints.

Recapping his first day of the season, Lowes was upbeat, confident and enjoyed being at the forefront: “It was good. We had some difficult conditions today and didn’t do many laps. The format for the weekend has changed since the test, so we have a bit of a different mentality. We’re trying to look for out-and-out performance and we have to look after the tyres for 10 or 11 laps, rather than the 22 laps. This means we can play a bit more with the power of the bike, maybe have a bit more of an aggressive setting on the way the bike turns to use the tyres a little bit more.

“In the afternoon, we used the tyres from the morning to start with and didn’t feel too bad. We used the SC2 front tyre, which I quite liked in the test when it was hotter, and by using it today, it means we can focus on the SC1 tyre which gives me some more turning and helps me ride the bike a little bit, especially for 10 laps I think it’s better. I didn’t expect to be as fast as I was. With the SC2 tyre, maybe you can use the grip and then it was dropping a bit, and I was struggling to turn the bike, so I’m sure there’s plenty of areas we can improve. In general, I’m positive and feel good. Quite a lot of good laps and my pace is staying okay. We know there’s so many fast guys in WorldSBK. If I can have a good Superpole, I think I can be in the mix tomorrow and start the year strongly.”

Discussing his goals for the weekend, the #22 has his eyes on the podium: “My goals are to do my job and get the most from the Kawasaki. We’ve not been around some of these guys, like Bulega, Iannone, Sam Lowes, on the Ducati; one of the strongest packages in the race situations. I’m looking forward to racing with them and getting stuck in. Toprak’s going to be there; there’s going to be a lot of guys who are there. I’m strong, I’m fast and when the grip’s there on the bike, I think I’m as quick as anybody else. I’m going to enjoy it, fight tomorrow and try to get on the podium to start the year.”

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Source: WorldSBK.com

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