Lowes encounters eventful first day in new WorldSBK adventure

Lowes encounters eventful first day in new WorldSBK adventure

Drizzle, strong winds and a red flag for wildlife on track ensured Sam Lowes and the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team experienced a positive but challenging opening day as the 2024 WorldSBK season kicked off at Phillip Island in Australia.

  • Intermittent light rain left damp patches on the 4.4km track throughout FP1, and Lowes only circulated for eight laps in the morning but an impressive lap of 1:29.717 placed the Briton in an excellent third position.
  • With air temperature only peaking at 16 degrees for FP2, Lowes completed 14 laps on a drying surface and once again he was in contention for the top three, with a fastest time of 1:29.292 putting him fifth in the second session and sixth on the combined standings.
  • Today’s performance has filled Lowes with plenty of confidence that he can fight for the top five in his WorldSBK debut tomorrow, with the first race of 2024 scheduled to start at 1600pm local time after Superpole at 1300pm.
  • In a change to the original weekend schedule, both feature races on Saturday and Sunday have been reduced from 22 to 20 laps. And both will include a mandatory pit stop between laps 9 and 11 in response to excessive tyre temperatures experienced on Phillip Island’s new surface during a one-day test earlier this week.

/// SAM LOWES: 6th, 1:29.292, 22 laps

“We were able to do a very good job in challenging conditions”

“We always knew today might be a little challenging at times because the forecast was for windy conditions with cooler temperatures and that’s exactly what we got. There was also a little bit of rain thrown in as well, but thankfully the forecast does look better for the remainder of the weekend. We were still able to do a very good job and I know a lot of the improvements we must make have to come from me. I’m still trying to get fully used to the Ducati Panigale and today was the first time I’ve ridden the bike in windy conditions. You have to expect that at some stage when you come to Phillip Island, so it was another valuable learning experience for me. The team did an amazing job and gave me a good bike and we have already found a good direction to work with tomorrow. I’m excited to be back racing and hope to put on a good show in my first WorldSBK race.”