Sam Lowes completed his first test on the Aprilia RS-GP machine that he will ride next year satisfied, and a little surprised, at just how fast and comfortable he was first time out on a MotoGP bike. Riding at Misano in a private test alongside Aprilia development rider Mike Di Meglio – and sharing the track with Ducati test rider Casey Stoner – the former World Supersport champion has come away with a renewed confidence in the project.
The 25-year-old Brit completed nearly a hundred laps during each day of the two-day test and admitted to RealRiders that despite the huge jump in power, the transition from Moto2 to MotoGP has been much easier than he expected.
“There was a lot to learn getting on a MotoGP bike for the first time, but we approached it in a good way… We kept calm, worked through a few different things, and didn’t go mad, especially on the first day. I’ve got a bit of time where I don’t have to prove anything, and it was nice to ride the bike with no pressure.” said Lowes.
“We still have a lot to understand, about what the bike is capable of. I need to understand the bike more, not to go fast, but just to understand what it can do.”
|“It was a scare riding a MotoGP bike when I’ve only ridden 600s, but I’m in a good place”|
Coming from a 140bhp Moto2 Kalex machine to the 250bhp-plus Grand Prix bike, the huge difference in power was always going to be an obstacle to overcome, but despite having limited experience on even Superbike-spec machinery, Lowes was able to take it all in his stride.
“The seamless gearbox was very impressive, and I know it’s a cliché but the speed on the first few laps was a bit of a shock,” Lowes added. “They dumbed it down a bit on the first day, but by the second day I was on full power and had no problems with it.
“That’s at Misano, and it’s not the fastest track. There are some fast corners, and I felt good in them. In fact, I was faster through them by a mile than any data they’d got so far. I said afterwards, ‘Oh it feels fast through there,’ and they pointed out that I was going quite fast!” Coming from a background of first Pirelli and then Dunlop tyres, Lowes has no experience of last year’s Bridgestone control tyres. This lack of comparison may well help his transition to the current Michelin control tyres.
“With Bridgestones the guys would really hammered them to the apex, which you can’t do with the Michelins. I was a bit over-cautious but there’s a happy medium that I think I’ll be able to find easier than the other riders. I’ve got a clean slate.”
|Sam Lowes adapted surprisingly well to a bike making 100bhp more than his Moto2 machine|
And with the test now successfully under his belt, the Lincolnshire racer sounds confident about his future. Taking criticism for having signed the Aprilia deal when the bike still looked uncompetitive, he can now finally relax after being able to get a gauge of the level he believes he’ll be capable of next year. “I went faster than I anticipated, but it’s all about staying calm,” Lowes noted.
“It got to a point on the second day when I finished early because we were starting to fine-tune the bike instead of trying new things. After two really good days I said enough was enough. I was nervous before the test, excited but nervous, but now I’m in a good place. I believe in the project even more. It was a bit of a scare going on to a big bike when you’ve only ridden 600s, but even though I wasn’t breaking lap records I’m now convinced that I’ll do a good job in MotoGP. It’s taken the pressure off.”