Alex Lowes to continue with Kawasaki into 2024 WorldSBK

Kawasaki has re-signed Alex Lowes to its factory WorldSBK team for the 2024 season ahead of this weekend's 2023 UK round at Donington.

Alex Lowes, 2023 Emilia Romagna WorldSBK. - Gold and Goose

Alex Lowes has re-signed with the factory Kawasaki team for the 2024 World Superbike Championship.

The 32-year-old will continue into a fifth season with the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK after signing a new one-year contract with the team.

Lowes’ start to life with Kawasaki could not have gone better in 2020, when he won in his third race for the team: Race 2 at Phillip Island, before the Covid pandemic saw the season paused.

Since then, success has been harder to come by for Lowes, but also for Kawasaki, who are yet to win a race in 2023, and have scored only five podiums in 15 races, while Ducati have dominated the season with Alvaro Bautista. The only race this season not won by the reigning champion was the Superpole Race in Indonesia, which was won, instead, by Yamaha and Toprak Razgatlioglu.

Since WorldSBK returned to Europe this season, rumours have surrounded Lowes' place at Kawasaki, with speculation that Xavi Vierge - currently at Honda and set to race for HRC at the 2023 Suzuka 8 Hours - could replace him. Of course, Lowes' confirmation in Kawasaki for 2024 ends that speculation.

On the signing of his new contract, Lowes said: “I’m super excited to continue my relationship with Kawasaki into the 2024 WorldSBK season. My motivation to achieve the best results possible on the Ninja ZX-10RR has never been stronger. 

“The number one goal now is to focus on the remainder of the current season, starting with my home race weekend at Donington. It is really nice to have confirmation that I will be racing with Kawasaki again [and have it] agreed in time for my home round. I will enjoy it all the more because of that. 
“I want to offer a big thank you to everyone at KMC, KME and all the crew at KRT for their great support in the past and their continuing belief in me. I look forward to working alongside them again next season.”

According to Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK Team Manager, Guim Roda, the onus was always on Lowes to make the decision to remain with Kawasaki, rather than for Kawasaki to choose Lowes. Roda said that this was down to the current WorldSBK rules preventing Kawasaki from building a package capable of winning a championship.

Roda said: “We are happy to keep Alex for the 2024 project and this gives us the stability we need in the current situation. The question was not if KRT was willing to continue with Alex. The question was if Alex was willing to continue with KRT, knowing the reality of the rules situation and our current performance capacity. We cannot offer a championship winning package if the rules don’t change. All the fans that understand a bit about racing can see this, and the only way to extract the maximum from our package is to use the experience and the brave riding of our riders. 

“Alex has the capacity to reach the required speed to try and work within that small window we have to perform at our best. Nobody in the world can doubt that Alex is always giving his best, and we have big respect for the effort he puts into it.”

Roda also said that part of the reason for choosing Lowes is that Kawasaki needs experienced riders who already know how to extract the most from the current ZX-10RR, rather than young riders who have to learn.

“We don’t have time to teach young riders how to ride the bike,” Roda said, “as some people in the paddock suggested we do. Now is the time to continue working hard and with a stable base, to take out the variables and focus on what we really know to improve our bike and make a real ‘team job.’ 

“Alex and Johnny are competitors with each other but they are very professional and work well together. They have respect for each other and know how to extract 110% from our bike to make the best show possible. We have a lot of jobs to do now, so let’s create calm in the project by choosing the two best riders, then we can focus on working as hard and as well as possible.”

There was also comment from Steve Guttridge, the Race Planning Manager at Kawasaki Motors Europe. Guttridge said: “This is great news for Alex and for Kawasaki. We are delighted he is continuing to help develop the Ninja ZX-10RR race package and, alongside Johhny and the KRT family, this signifies an exciting next step for everyone involved. 

“Alex is a proven race winner on the Ninja and we are as keen as he is to see him on the podium across the remainder of 2023 and across 2024. I join the fans globally in wishing him good fortune in this next phase of his career.”  

The 2023 WorldSBK season will continue this weekend at Donington Park for the UK round, where Lowes has taken three podiums in his WorldSBK career, including one last year in Race 1.

Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja and ZX10RR (2021) Review | Jonathan Rea WorldSBK For the Road Tested

Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja and ZX10RR (2021) Review | Jonathan Rea WorldSBK For the Road Tested