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2014 and 2019 Lowes two completely different people – Denning

Pata Yamaha team boss Paul Denning feels the development in Alex Lowes makes him unrecognisable to the person who joined his squad in 2014.

Pata Yamaha team boss Paul Denning feels the rider development he’s seen in Alex Lowes makes him unrecognisable to the person who joined his squad back in 2014.

Lowes stepped up to the World Superbike championship as 2013 British Superbike champion with the Crescent-run squad, initially competing on Suzuki machinery for two seasons, before the team gained factory Yamaha backing from 2016.

The British rider has made steady progress over that time which has resulted in an eye-catching start to 2019 with four podiums and third place in the riders’ standings after the opening four rounds.

Reflecting on the opening four rounds of the year, Denning feels Lowes has altered his working method and mental approach to get the best out of himself, the team and the YZF-R1.

“Alex has been with Crescent since 2014 and with the Yamaha project since the start in 2016. Honestly, “2019” Alex versus “2014” Alex is just two completely different people,” Denning said. “Alex has been very impressive in terms of his work rate to understand what needs to be done to improve and this, aligned with his increased maturity and the ability to make better decisions, has turned him into a very strong and consistent competitor.

“Alex has always been extremely fast over a single lap so qualifying has never been an issue. His understanding of the dynamics of the R1, given his intelligence and experience of the bike, is very clear for everyone - Yamaha’s engineers take his feedback very seriously in terms of development.

“So far this year Alex has addressed what needed to improve from 2018 with flying colours, and largely that improvement is off the bike and more in the pit box by keeping his focus and keeping a calm approach.

“Alex is so ambitious and has such an intrinsic and deep desire to succeed, that in the past when things haven’t gone well it has created frustration and a hot-headed approach that has made it difficult for the team to give him what he has needed.”

While Denning believes improvements can still be found from all sides, he’s delighted to see Lowes become a team leader which is duly providing results.

“Of course, the team doesn’t always get it right – very far from it – but Alex has realised that he’s the key instigator and driver of the team’s direction in terms of feedback and the way in which he delivers that feedback and encouragement,” he added.

“The best and most successful riders, in one way or another, ultimately lead their teams – Alex is now doing that and that’s created a big step forward over the last six months.

“He has been consistently impressive so far in 2019 and we believe there is a lot more to come.”

Lowes’ best finish to a World Superbike championship saw him take fifth place in the riders’ standings in 2017, but in terms of points scoring the British rider reaped a higher tally in 2018 – despite one race fewer when Qatar’s Race 2 was cancelled due to a sandstorm – as he finished last year in sixth position.

Since joining the World Superbike championship, Lowes has also contested the Suzuka 8 Hours for the past four years, winning on three occasions with Yamaha Factory Racing Team. Lowes is expected to defend the Suzuka 8 Hours title later this year alongside team-mate Michael van der Mark and Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

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