26th Feb 2024


Sam Lowes bounced back superbly from a bruising practice crash to qualify inside the top 10 and claim a hard-fought points scoring finish in the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team’s WorldSBK Championship debut in Australia.

The British rider fell heavily in the high-speed final corner in the early stages of FP3 but undeterred he set an impressive time of 1:28.676 in his first WorldSBK Superpole to qualify third fastest Ducati and eighth overall.

Early aggression put Lowes into sixth place for the opening five laps of 20 and the 33-year-old was comfortably inside the top 10 ahead of a compulsory pit stop to change tyres between laps nine and 11.

Lowes opted to pit for fresh rubber on lap 10 and after slipping back to 15th he set his best lap of the race on lap 15 and was able to fight back to take 13th position at the chequered flag.

Sam and the Team enjoyed a brilliant first Sunday race day in the WorldSBK Championship today at Phillip Island, with the British rider starring in a thrilling Superpole Race and feature Race 2.

The Briton’s first taste of the exciting Superpole Race format over 10 laps proved to be hugely positive, with Lowes finishing just 1.6s off the podium in eighth position.

Lowes looked anything but a WorldSBK rookie in Race 2 when he quickly fired himself into the top three behind Andrea Locatelli and reigning World Champion Alvaro Bautista before the scheduled 20-lap encounter was red flagged after a heavy crash for Jonathan Rea.

Race 2 was subsequently reduced from 20 to 11 laps, which removed the need for a compulsory pit stop to change tyres. Once the action resumed, Lowes was once again right in the heart of some incredibly close and dramatic action in Australia and after placing as high as fifth he eventually finished only 3.4s off the win in an excellent seventh.

SAM LOWES: Race 1: 13th

“It feels good to get my first WorldSBK race in the books and it was certainly a different experience with the pit stop. That made it feel like a bit of a strange race and unfortunately once I was back out on track, we encountered a couple of issues. We will look into that and try and get to the bottom of it tonight, so we are stronger tomorrow. It’s a pity because I felt strong in the first part of the race, and I was holding my position fighting for the top six. We have gained a lot of information and experience and I think we have the potential for a much better result tomorrow.”

SAM LOWES: Superpole Race: 8th / Race 2: 7th 

“Normally I wouldn’t be saying a seventh and an eighth place is an amazing result, but we must remember this is my first race weekend in WorldSBK and I have to be extremely happy with how things have gone. I enjoyed both races a lot and importantly we have been able to gain a lot of experience to help us in the future. How to manage the rear tyre is something I can improve because I genuinely think I could have fought for the podium today with a bit more experience. But I can only be happy with how I rode. I felt good on the bike and I think this weekend is a good base to build on. We finished all three races and the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team did an amazing job this weekend. This was our first weekend in WorldSBK and it was a new experience, but they all did an awesome job and we can head home happy. I also want to congratulate my brother Alex on his incredible weekend. I’m so happy for him and our family and now we’ve got to hunt him down at the next one!”

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