BRIT WATCH LOWES RIDES HIGH

Level-headed Brit set­tles for sec­ond as he builds a base for se­ri­ous ti­tle chal­lenge

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - Danny Kent AT CIR­CUIT OF THE AMER­I­CAS MO­TOGP REPORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

A me­chan­i­cal mal­func­tion brought an end to an un­happy week­end for reign­ing Moto3 cham­pion Kent, when a clutch prob­lem meant that he was forced to re­tire from a non-points scor­ing po­si­tion in Sun­day’s race. Un­able to find any front feel­ing from the Leop­ard Kalex, Kent is now look­ing for­ward to a re­turn to the tra­di­tional cir­cuits of Europe and an im­prove­ment in form.

John Mcphee

Was also plagued with me­chan­i­cal prob­lems at the week­end, as a se­ri­ous gear­box fault on his Peu­geot-branded Mahin­dra ma­chine left him fight­ing to find a gear in ev­ery cor­ner of the race. Hit­ting neu­trals be­tween shifts meant that he spent the en­tire race fight­ing a mis­be­hav­ing ma­chine to even­tu­ally fin­ish out­side the points in 21st.

Sam Lowes showed he’s a se­ri­ous Moto2 ti­tle con­tender, tak­ing a strong sec­ond place in Texas to lead the cham­pi­onship by a sin­gle point af­ter three rounds.

Lowes has shrugged off his rep­u­ta­tion as a wild rider by demon­strat­ing just how mea­sured he can be. Af­ter a hec­tic first-turn scrab­ble at the Cir­cuit of the Amer­i­cas, Lowes was left chas­ing down pole man Alex Rins – and was con­trolled enough to know what he needed to do.

“With three laps to go, I be­lieved it was pos­si­ble to still catch him – but I was push­ing, he was push­ing, and I was hav­ing too many mo­ments. The old me would have caught him up, and then prob­a­bly crashed!

“I could have caught him, but I don’t know if I could have passed him. If I had a crash with two laps left, it would have been a bad week­end, but in­stead it’s been great. I fin­ished sec­ond, I’m lead­ing the cham­pi­onship, and we can go to the next one, build­ing mo­men­tum.”

And while Rins might have been able to hold him off long enough to take vic­tory by two sec­onds, Lowes was happy that he didn’t fall away as many ti­tle ri­vals did – in­clud­ing reign­ing cham­pion Jo­hann Zarco.

And that, com­bined with a slen­der one-point ti­tle lead over the Spa­niard, means Lowes heads back to Europe con­tent with his Amer­i­can ad­ven­ture – es­pe­cially af­ter a dif­fi­cult week of travel from Ar­gentina (round two) to Austin (round three).

“Rins didn’t have that much more than me,” ad­mit­ted Lowes. “It’s not like he de­stroyed me. I didn’t push in the last two laps and he had a lit­tle bit more, but that’s a fair re­sult af­ter the week­end. It was the same in Ar­gentina; Zarco was faster than me all week­end.

“I thought to my­self ‘I’m hold­ing pace, not catch­ing him’ – so I just fin­ished the race and took the 20 points. If some­one told me at the start of the year you could take two sec­ond places at these two races, it wouldn’t have been ideal but I would have taken it, be­cause it’s been a tough week.”

Now Lowes is look­ing for­ward to the more tra­di­tional tracks of Jerez, Catalunya and Le Mans in the com­ing weeks. He added: “This year is all about build­ing blocks, and get­ting a good base. Once we get to round nine or 10, then we can start push­ing on.

“But if we give 25 points to these guys now, we’re never go­ing to get it back. I need to keep fo­cused, and maybe take 20 points in­stead of risk­ing it to take 25. If it was the last race of the year, I’d have pushed for the win, but there wasn’t a cham­pi­onship on the line – and if I had pushed on to­day there’s not go­ing to be one on the line.”

‘ The old me would’ve caught him up and then prob­a­bly crashed!’

Spa­niard Rins took the win over Bri­tain’s Sam Lowes and reign­ing cham­pion Zarco

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