Lowes pledges to stay ‘calm’ after defeating Rea
World Superbike points leader Alex Lowes says he needs to stay “calm” after beating Jonathan Rea on his first weekend as a Kawasaki rider because Phillip Island is a “strange” track.
Lowes came out on top against Rea in a final-lap showdown during Sunday’s final race of the weekend at the Australian track, scoring his first victory since the 2018 Brno round and only the second of his WSBK career.
It also propelled the 29-year-old to the top of the standings on 51 points, 11 clear of Ducati rider Scott Redding and 16 ahead of Yamaha man Toprak Razgatlioglu.
Having slipped towards the back of the lead group in the middle part of the race before mounting a late recovery and finally grabbing the lead from Rea at the start of the penultimate lap, Lowes admitted the high track temperatures and the slow pace were key to his win.
“All the test and Friday, we had a lot of different conditions,” said Lowes. “Nobody was really sure about tyre life with 50 degrees of track temperature.
“It helped me [the pace being slow] because I was a little bit further back in the middle of the race and just saving a little something in my pocket.
“But I know when I get to Qatar and Europe, the races will be a bit different. So I need to be a bit calm and see how we get on there.”
Asked how it felt to beat teammate Rea on his first weekend as a Kawasaki rider, Lowes replied: “No different really. It’s only my second World Superbike win and Jonathan’s won five world championships. So there’s plenty for me to learn.
“When we come back to some more normal tracks I need to be calm and understand my pace. But the team is fantastic, they’ve helped me a lot, they’ve given me a lot of confidence and I’m really enjoying riding the bike.”
Race winner Alex Lowes, Kawasaki Racing Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Rea, fresh from winning Sunday morning’s Superpole race, had controlled much of the finale at the head of a large leading pack before trying to break away in the closing laps.
But the defending champion explained that after doing so he felt a major drop-off with his tyre that left him powerless to defend from Lowes in the closing stages, although he was able to re-pass the Yamaha of Michael van der Mark for second.
“I was just setting the rhythm and everyone was conservative but I think with 4-5 [laps] to go, I dropped the hammer,” recalled Rea.
“But as soon as this lap was complete, I felt a huge drop in the tyre and then it was sort of tyre management when Alex came through with two laps to go in Turn 1, I was so wide and let van der Mark come through.
“I just got caught off guard with the pass and also the wind going into [Turn] 1 and it took me just a few corners to get through on van der Mark because Alex was really hauling then. So the last lap I did all I could to throw the kitchen sink at it to close that gap.
“Around that last corner, I was getting a good run but he just sort of stopped me in the middle, I almost touched his exhaust. So I was looking for a run to the line but it didn’t come.
“Congratulations to him [Lowes], he did an awesome job this weekend. To lead the championship coming here, a new team, it’s really good.”
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