Yakhnich Yamaha World Supersport rider Sam Lowes has just embarked on what could be a career defining season, one that could see the Lincolnshire twin take his first World Championship, a title that will sit proudly alongside the British Supersport Championship he won aboard a GNS Racing Honda in 2010.
|Sam Lowes aboard his Yamaha R6 at Phillip Island
Photo: Yakhnich Motorsport
PaddockChatter caught up with Sam as he returned from a positive couple of weeks in Australia at Phillip Island where he showed his intentions for 2013 right from the first test through to the race itself only for his rear tyre to fail in the closing stages, handing the win to main title rival Kenan Sofuoglu.
Your excellent British Supersport title win in 2010 really opened people’s eyes to what Sam Lowes could do. What happened that year that made everything fall in to place?
2010 was big season for me, absolutely, and I put that down to a few different things, the biggest being my first time in a proper team with good backing. I knew and believed that, given competitive machinery, I could win and that along with growing up a little all made it a perfect season for us all.
That British title was your springboard to World Supersport with PTR Honda, how difficult was that first season with a new team and new tracks to learn?
It’s called world championship for a reason and that’s because you have the best riders and best teams, so yes it was difficult. But I approached the season believing in myself and believed that I could be competitive even with the step up and track knowledge and I proved that from round one. It was difficult though, no question, this showed by me making a few too many mistakes but I also podiumed in half the races and also in the races I finished I was only off podium twice, so not too bad when you break it all down.
What positives are you taking from your time at Honda?
Many things, you know. I have been with Honda ever since I started in 125cc so it was nice to win with them in Britain and be competitive in a world championship too. Honda’s a great company, and as one of their company quotes says, “without racing, there is no Honda”. I like this a lot and what they have achieved in all classes over the years is incredible, so I learnt a lot and am very grateful for the opportunities Honda gave me.
If you could have done anything differently over the past 2 years, what would it be?
I’m not the sort of person who says ‘if I had done this’ or ‘if I hadn’t done that, things would have been different’ you know, I just take my experiences and learn from them and try to improve. Obviously mistakes have cost me, especially in 2012, so to make less of them would have been nice but there were reasons for them all, so I will learn from them and improve, without question.
You’re still young and have a long career ahead. Your new deal is over three years, a rarity in racing these days, that shows a great mutual respect between you and the team.
Yes I agree, but I fully believe in what the team are planning and can see their vision so I’m happy with that the contract is good and states Superbike in 2014. If, for some reason, this doesn’t happen then I’m not tied into Supersport again if I don’t want which is a massive bonus from my point of view. The team as a whole, from my experience so far, are fantastic and I am very impressed so I’m very happy right now and am more than happy to be part of the teams 2013 plans and beyond.
Seeing how other riders have progressed in the Yamaha family must give you a great confidence boost?
Obviously that’s really nice to see but right now I’m focused on Yakhnich Motorsport and World Supersport, if we do our job here then who knows what could happen in the future.
You became a Monster Energy athlete last season, how did that come about?
Yes I’m now monster athlete, which is real cool and nice. They approached me, which was how it all started and I’m very happy to continue to be involved with Monster and hope it can carry on being good partnership for us both in the future.
It must have put a smile on your face to be fast straight out the box on the Yamaha R6?
|Checking the timing screens
Photo: Yakhnich Motorsport
Oh definitley! As soon as I got on the Yamaha R6 I felt good, which I must admit was a small relief. It’s always there in the back of your mind when you get on new bike that you hope it’s the bike you want, but yes I’m very happy and excited to spend the season on a Yamaha.
The Yamaha R6 comes with a great pedigree and has propelled two British riders to the crown. Would you say, with how you’ve grown as a rider and with that bike, that 2013 is your best chance yet?
Yes I agree. I have a very good chance this season, this is easily best team and bike I have ever had and I feel ready in myself to not make the mistakes I have before and go to that next level. I have been training harder than ever and want the championship so so badly. Onit!
Looking back at your time in PI, what did you take from that first full weekend with the team?
Obviously we wanted to win, but to get 20 points at my first race with a new team and my first race with Yamaha was a very big positive and great result. In the race we had few problems which didn’t allow us to show all our speed but these are things that will be changed for Aragon.
I am more than happy with how things have started and considering how much more we have to come from myself and the team, we are a lot further ahead of we expected this early! But now we expect to fight to win at every race but wherever that’s not possible, just bag as many points as we can.
With Aragon up next, what’s the plan to tame the Turk? You won there last year so you must be confident?
Yes I love Aragon, it’s great circuit and I’ve have had 2 good years there. Kenan is a fantastic rider and great champion but with my new team and bike this year is going to be a fantastic battle, and I’m more than ready for it.
I truly believe I have everything in place to become world champion this year and I see Kenan as the biggest challenge for this. As I showed in Australia, I can battle and outride Kenan; he only ever passed me on the straight there and we know why that was and it won’t be like that in Aragon! Don’t get me wrong to beat him I have to get 100% out of myself and my bike at every race but I’m ready to work harder than the rest and do whatever needed to achieve what I, and the team, want.
The last part is a personal one for you, have you a message for your fans?
Thank you so much to everyone who’s supported me. I hope to see you all at Donington Park in May. The love and support is so much appreciated it really means a lot, this year could be the year I repay that support with a World Championship. I promise I’ll give it my best. Stay onit #11.
A big thanks to Sam for taking the time to chat and PaddockChatter wishes him all the best for the season and is really looking forward to seeing the battles unfold.