The 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is rightly being billed as one of the most exciting seasons ever with a line-up featuring a myriad of changes as well as the arrival of fresh faces. Sam Lowes (ELF MarcVDS Racing Team) will be aboard the Ducati Panigale V4 R for the forthcoming season and after just one day of action at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, he was more than positive with his first sensations.
“CONSIDERING THE CONDITIONS, IT WAS A VERY POSITIVE DAY” – Lowes takes to the track
Evaluating his first laps on track, Lowes said: “We only did 65 laps at Jerez on Tuesday and on Monday, we didn’t ride at all because of the conditions. I started with rain tyres and did about 30 or 35 laps with those, then changed to the slick tyre. The conditions weren’t so good, particularly at Turn 2, Turn 9, Turn 13, which were quite wet but the other parts of the track were dry and I was able to ride and get the first sensations.
“My first feeling with the Ducati was honestly amazing; I was quite nervous to go out in the morning with the first feeling in the rain, so for me it was a good feeling. To go out, understand the bike, the electronics… of course, it’s the first day so I’m not going to get a massive feeling but to understand the electronics, the power compared to the Moto2™, I was smiling even with the first few laps being in the rain. I was very excited and there was a lot of anticipation. Waiting around all day on Monday before going out made it longer.”
“I FELT VERY COMFORTABLE ON THE BIKE STRAIGHT AWAY” – rain doesn’t dampen Lowes’ feeling
With the conditions not being great, it was still productive and learning for the 33-year-old: “Considering the conditions, it was a very positive day; I felt very comfortable on the bike straight away which is something that I was quite surprised about. There are some things that I need to adapt with my riding style in comparison to Moto2™, and probably not the areas I actually thought. Where I thought I’d need to work on, I was already quite good. There are lots of things to think about and work on and obviously, you need time and laps; 30 dry laps is not so much, especially when it was quite patchy.”
I’M REALLY HAPPY, LUCKY AND PROUD…. I JUST SMILED ALL DAY” – a bright future for the new team and rider
It may have just been the first test but Lowes was elated to be part of the team and start this new challenge in his career, returning to the WorldSBK paddock for the first time since his 2013 WorldSSP title success: “The team were really good! It was really nice to get everyone together; the months did a great job to put it all together to get to ride this side of Christmas so thanks to the team and Ducati for helping with that. It’s a really nice group and we’ve done a good job to get that. My crew chief has fantastic knowledge of the bike which also helps. I’m really happy, lucky and proud to be in the team.
“Where I still need to work is to understand the tyres and electronics more and to adapt my style to the Superbike. The strengths were that in some corners and in some areas of the bike, I was doing very, very well, on the level that I need to be. I just smiled all day, enjoyed it, was nervous but it was nice to get out and get the first day out of the way. I look forward to January and it’s quite a long wait now but in the end, the first race is at the end of February. We have a lot of work to do in that side but very positive, looking forward to it and we can look into our first season and have high goals.”
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