Sam Lowes is a rookie in MotoGP but it looks like he already has clear ideas how to go fast with the Aprilia RS-GP.
Q: What difference have you found between Moto2 and MotoGP
A: For me, obviously, the first thing is the acceleration, so the speed exiting the corners and the speed stopping the bike. But now this is more normal and it’s just a matter of understanding the bike and understanding how to get the best from the bike, so in theory, I just need to change my style so I can be in a different position in the middle of the corner to pick the bike up and use the horsepower on the big part of the tyre to exit. So this is something we worked a lot on in the last test and honestly it’s quite a nice feeling because in the test we’ve been quite relaxed, just having a good plan to work through and I’ll be happy to get to Qatar and make a step and start working more for speed, for example.
Q: You said that you had a good feeling seeing the other rookie so fast on the Yamaha. But don’t you also have a bad feeling because they are so fast on another bike?
A:For me, I’m happy because the fact that they are fast shows that the potential of the Moto2 riders is high. And also, he is testing. In the past, if we had only looked at testing for the last two seasons, I would have been world champion both times, because the last two years in testing I did a different job and was incredibly fast. Now I’ve tried to be more relaxed this time to have a better start to the season to be in a better position in Qatar. For sure, I would prefer to be in the top times, this is normal for everybody, but honestly the difference is not as big as it seems.
Q: Who is in the best position, you or your twin brother?
A: He had a really good two races in Australia. For me, of course, to be in MotoGP and on this team, I’m in a better position than him, but he’s in a great position, he’s doing a really good job. He has a good sensation with Yamaha, he has a good agreement for the Superbike, for the Suzuka 8 Hours and it’s really good for him.
Q: Going back to what you said about the other rookies, doesn’t it put extra pressure on you to see Zarco e Folger so successful?
A: In races 6, 7 8 in Mugello and Silverstone, if there’s a big gap at that point, then yeah, I’d be under pressure, but for me now, not really, because, like I said, for me the biggest mistake in the past has been to look too much at the lap times in testing, so I’ve learned a lot from this. Also, the work that we have done is a lot different because, for the Tech3, for example, they have the bike, the Yamaha, it’s there, and this is the bike. For me, I’ve still not ridden the bike I will race in Qatar, because we’ve tested many things, tried this, electronics, really testing and for me this is important, because we’re working in view of the season and the race. If I had just been putting fuel in the bike and making laps, for sure, I should have been a lot faster, but that has not been the case.
Q: When you say that you learned from the past, does this mean that you are a little bit more conservative? So you still have some margin and you are not giving everything?
A: Yeah, in Moto2 we speak a lot, but it’s just some suspension changes and putting in the fuel. So in Moto2, in theory, you just have to be fast, because there’s nothing to test, really. So now I’ve learned that it’s really, really important to understand the bike, to understand the direction, because it is important now to make the right decision for six month’s time. Because now, in the position in this team, we can have input in the bike; we can change things from inside and this is important, because if we make the wrong decision now, we suffer in the middle of the year.
Q: I spoke with Romano after Phillip Island and he told me that he believes a lot in your talent. You have so much energy, but you need to channel this energy. So what was your weak point in the approach to the race and how are you thinking to change in the rest of the season?
A:This is almost going back to what we were saying before. In the past I just used to think about lap times and push push all the time. Now I understand that you can’t do this with MotoGP. First you have to understand. For sure, the times come in when I’m allowed to push and I can push more, but now I have to just be really calm and ride at 80% to understand everything. I’m working a lot away from the track to be more relaxed and you just have to be more clever. On a MotoGP bike it’s not just riding, it’s the whole package and that’s just something I’m learning and I’m still learning a lot. I feel like I’m in a really good position. I feel like I’ve made a good start inside me, so I’m looking forward to Qatar.
Q: Do you have a mental coach?
A: Yeah, I’ve just started working this winter with a guy, he’s called Eugenio and he’s from Chile, but he works more on the science of the brain and the focus, the attention and the reactions and this is something that we’re working on now, so it’s quite nice. First it was important that they found a brain. This was the first step, so it’s quite nice… they’ve found something inside my head!
Q: I always thought that you don’t really need to have a brain to go fast.
A: In Moto2, less. In MotoGP you start to need a little bit!