2 years ago
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Sam Lowes talks us through his debut Moto2™ victory in Austin, his podium in Argentina and having to ride through the pain barrier.
Sam Lowes is competing for Speed Up Racing in the Moto2™ World Championship, and he will be writing a number of blogs throughout 2015 for motogp.com giving us an exclusive insight into his life and season.
I missed a blog after Austin as it was all pretty hectic travelling to Argentina and I was enjoying my first GP win.
I had a nice recharge before the Austin race, a few days training and getting my head back into gear after the mistake I had made during the race in Qatar.
I enjoyed the Austin GP in 2014 and had a good feeling going into the race after testing and my pace in Qatar. FP1 was wet and I had a small crash but otherwise it was a mega session. I worked a little on the bike and ended fastest overall, building lots of confidence in the rain which was nice given that the forecast for the weekend was hit and miss.
FP2 was dry and my second flying lap matched my qualifying time from 2014, so that was a good feeling and highlighted the improvements the team and myself have made this season.
I felt like the bike suited the track and I felt confident straight away but after the mistake in Qatar, maybe I was pushing a little too much for the first dry session. I made the mistake of taking too much inside curb at turn 9, which ended up in a massive highside. I lost the front but because I was at full gas, it ended up throwing me over the top! I hurt my back and ankle pretty bad and I was mad at myself for making a mistake so early on in the weekend.
That night the pain was okay but in the morning when I woke up I was aching a lot and couldn't even put my socks on. My helper Torleif had to do it for me, I didn’t know if could ride, so I was obviously worried. Therefore we left the hotel extra early so I had plenty of time at the Clinica mobile to get some treatment before riding, those guys are awesome and always do a great job…they helped me so much this weekend.
In FP3 the first 3/4 laps were eventful to say the least, as I was really stiff and pretty slow! I was worried I had ruined my weekend with the crash the day before, but I stayed on the track to try and warm up and it helped. By the end of my first run I wasn't too far away, but I just felt so awkward on the bike! We made some changes to the setup and finished the session pretty strong considering.
In Qualifying I knew I might not be able to set a mega pace, so we started the session with something we knew worked and new tyres. I built it up after a steady few laps to set a really strong lap time, as I knew the end of the session would be difficult for me! We then decided to try something that would help us more for the race, going against our normal strategy in Qualifying. We stayed on the same tyre all session and worked for the race knowing I was unlikely to stay on pole, but that I would at least be on the front 2 rows with my time from the start. I was surprised to end the session in 2nd place, especially as I nearly beat my time at the end of the session on old tyres, something that helped me massively come race day!
Sunday morning I felt a little bit better than the day before. The forecast was for rain and we had a damp Warm Up, and even though rain threatened, it never came so we had a dry race. The guys at the Clinica gave me some painkillers for the race and after 3/4 laps when they kicked in; my back pain was no problem at all. There were a few small damp patches under the bridges, but it was a dry race and I felt good. Zarco set a solid pace and, at least for the first half of the race, I was just concentrating on being smooth and not repeating the mistake from Qatar! At two-thirds distance, I knew it would be good to be in front in case of a red flag, so I passed for the lead at the end of the straight. At this point I felt good on the bike and used what we had learnt in qualifying to try and pull a gap.
I managed to get a small advantage with a few laps to go, but this was a new position for me to be in leading a Moto2™ race, and I knew I had to stay focused all the way until the end if I wanted to get my first win. I had a strong pace, so I just kept my rhythm until the last lap! Then I looked at my pit board and it said P1 Last Lap +1.8s…that was pretty cool to see! I knew if I could just keep it smooth, I could take my first ever Grand Prix win.
I managed that, and as I came out of the last corner and saw the checkered flag, it was the best feeling in the world. I had tears in my eyes straightaway, and after a very difficult debut season, in only the second round of 2015 I had won my first Moto2™ race. It felt awesome!
The in lap was emotional and coming in to see my team was a great feeling, then standing on the podium and hearing the British national anthem…those moments will stay with me forever! Better than any pain killer in the world!
We celebrated with a nice team meal that night and then started the journey to Argentina on Monday. It’s not the easiest journey, but given the result the day before it all seemed ok! We flew from Austin to Dallas, then Dallas to Buenos Aires and finally Buenos Aires to Tucuman, before heading to the circuit! The car drive from Tucuman wasn’t a long one, but we hit a massive storm on the way that was so bad that we had to stop the car a few times as we couldn't see for rain! It was incredible to see!
I really enjoy the circuit in Rio Hondo, even though I knew it may not be the easiest race for us, as it was tricky there in 2014. We struggled a little over practice but we were not too far away. In the earlier sessions of the day we were fast, but when the track temperature rose in the afternoon we were missing something. This was due to the fact we had a cold preseason, and during the first two races we hadn't done any testing in these conditions on the new bike, so it was to be expected.
In qualifying I didn't put a mega lap together but ended up 4th, having spent most of the session in third, before being knocked down right at the end. I was pretty happy as I was struggling for grip in the heat, but I had consistent pace.
In the Warm Up on Sunday we had awesome pace as the track temperature was lower, and even on old tyres I had a great feeling, which made me excited, even though I knew the race would still be difficult.
The guys at the Clinica again did an awesome job all weekend and I was feeling better and better as it went on. I was not exactly in perfect condition, but I was good enough to not use it as an excuse. After winning the week before I knew if I could get another podium, it would put me in a good position in the Championship heading in to Europe.
The race was tough; I made an average start but had a good first lap and was in 3rd place. Zarco was on it all weekend, and straightaway had great pace in the race. It took me a few laps to pass Simeon, but once I did Zarco already had a 1.5s gap. I dug deep, and for the next 15 laps I managed to match his pace, but I couldn't catch him. He deserved to win as he rode brilliantly. I used up too much tyre grip and energy in the middle of the race, and when Rins appeared right behind me I sat up and let him past, as I wanted to see where he was stronger and if I could fight with him. As soon as he passed, I knew he had more speed than me, so I just focused on finishing third and moving on to Jerez. I am very happy with the third place after a hard weekend, and I have taken lots of positives from it!
I felt a lot better in Argentina, securing my first win has definitely allowed me to relax more and work in a better way. My goal now is to work hard over the next races to stay consistent and fight for the podium every week. I’m very happy for my team that we had 2 solid races before we head to Europe, and I can’t wait for Jerez. I appreciate all of your support and I will be working harder than ever to improve, and to take another step forward in Jerez.
Thanks a lot guys!
Sam Lowes 22
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