With the exception of the 2017 racing season when he competed in MotoGP as a member of Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, Sam Lowes is now in his eighth FIM Moto2 World Championship season. After finishing third in the 2020 title fight, Lowes returned to the division in 2021 and won three Grands Prix on his way to placing fourth overall in the Moto2 World Championship. Lowes is back in the Moto2 battle in 2022 and he has one primary objective.
“My goals for next year are clear,” said out Lowes on the eve of the new season. “I must be fighting for the world championship, and I believe both myself and the Eld Marc VDS Racing Team can do that together. I want to be competitive and battling at the front in every race because if you do that, you’ll be a title contender. I aim to come out fighting for the world championship from the first race.”
Currently sixth in points following Sunday’s race at COTA, Lowes is pleased with where he and the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team stand in the grand scheme of things.
“Yeah, that’s it, mate,” said Lowes a few hours after being taken out of the American race on an opening-lap crash. “We’ve just been focused. So far in 2022, we’ve been solid, but we’ve just missed it a tiny bit. This year, with 21 races on the calendar, the goal is just to be real consistent and to keep building up the points. We just always want to be fighting for the victory or to be near the podium like we did in the first few rounds. Last weekend at Argentina we missed it a tiny bit, but it’s just important to finish the races and get the points and to keep building them up because it’s a long year and we know that end goal is to fight for that championship. It’s exciting.”
Four rounds into the new season, Lowes is reasonably pleased with the results he and the Elf Marc VDS Kalex have posted up. Qatar brought a third place finish, while the Indonesia, Argentina and United States of America Grands Prix saw Lowes race to fourth, 10th and a DNF respectively.
“Yeah, not too bad so far,” he said. “I think that if you can always be in that front group in Moto2 with as fast as the class is, and if you can be consistent, that is what will make a difference at Valencia at the end of the year. We just have to get back in that top group at these race weekends and we need to keep plugging away.”
Signed back on to the highly successful Elf Marc VDS Racing Team for the ’22 Moto2 world tour, Lowes talked about how important the chemistry between himself and the team has been.
“There is so much going on at each race and we really need to be in step with each other,” Lowes said. “Qualifying now is so important given how tight the class is. You’ve got one day to get everything prepped how you want and you’ve got Friday night to prepare to be on the pace on Saturday to get on the front two rows of the grid, which is where I think you need to be to be fighting for the podium.
“Being with the same team, the same crew has been great. I’ve got a real good relationship with them. The fact that you can get things done quickly and can understand each other better pays big dividends on the race weekends. In testing, when you have three days to be fast or three days to work on the bike, of course you have a little bit more time to do it. But on race weekends, especially if you miss a session for weather or if things are not quite the same, having that team and that good environment definitely makes a big difference and I think we can use some of that to our advantage this year.”
“I mean, in 2020 I lost the championship by nine points and that was with three DNFs and a 14th place finish. I nearly had four no-scores, which means on days where if I would have decided rather than pushing for a second place finish, I could have accepted a third or a fourth or even a 10th like I did in Argentina this year. That’s six points, and at the end of the year they all count.
“I’ve learned the hard way. To look back on the seasons and see where you might have missed eight or nine points, it makes you realize you could have easily scored those points if you would have focused on them. I’ve lost championships by that much and it has just made me realize that you don’t need to be the man every weekend. You need to be the man over 21 races. It is the guy that is consistent every weekend that’s there. Of course on their good days they’re winning races, but it is a long year, isn’t it? Coming in hot and getting injured gets you nowhere, and I’ve learned that. It takes some time and there are lessons that you need to learn and hopefully we’ve learned that and we can put that into practice this year.”
As mentioned previously, Lowes has done time in the premier MotoGP division, racing an Aprilia RS-GP MotoGP bike to 25th in the points. Lowes admits that while MotoGP is ultimate goal, the Moto2 task at hand is all that really matters.
“Yeah, MotoGP, that’s obviously everyone’s target, isn’t it?” he said. “For me, my goal is just to be Moto2 world champion and see what happens. It is something that I’ve been trying for a few years and I’ve been close a few times and I don’t want it to get away from me. Then after that, we’ll see what happens. I’d rather be at the front of the Moto2 fight and then trying to get the title. That’s the goal at the moment.”
And can Sam Lowes bring that goal to life?
“This is my best chance. I was nine points off in ’20. I’ve been less than a race win off it in other years, as well. I’ve been close, so I can definitely do it. On our good days we’re good enough to win, it’s just taking care of races like Argentina and the other bad races and just picking up points. Even if it’s six points or eight points or seven points, if I pick up points on my bad days, we’ll be fine. Let’s get after it!”