Moto GP

Sam Lowes: My hand looked destroyed – but pain couldn’t stop me racing for title

Sam Lowes might not have won the world title last weekend, but he showed the heart of a true champion.

Absolutely nobody would have begrudged Lowes if he said that he was unable to race in Portimao.

But with the Moto2 title at stake in the final round of the championship, there was no chance Lowes was going to walk away.

The 30-year-old went into MotoGP's final weekend of the season with two broken bones in his right hand. The pain was clear for all to see.

TV coverage of Lowes taking part in practice, qualifying and warm-up sessions was excruciating just to watch, as he winced, screamed and even cried at the pain every time he stepped off the bike.

But there was a point a two weeks earlier, when the crash happened in Valencia, that Lowes thought his world title dream was over.

"When I first took my glove off, it looked like my hand was completely destroyed," he said.

"I was gutted because I thought that was the end of my season but luckily when the swelling came down, where the breaks were, it was possible."

Possible, but barely possible.

But such is Lowes' mentality, that even the tiniest glimmer of hope that he would be fit to ride was all it was going to take to get him on the bike.

And then he managed to defy all logic, by finishing third on the track.

It wasn't enough to swing the Moto2 title his way, but his first seasonal podium after seven years on the MotoGP circuit was secured.

"There was no doubt that I was going to start the race and try my best to cross the finish line," Lowes said.

"It was just a case of trying to manage the laps and trying to understand if we could change the handlebar, which we did a little bit, just to see if we could manage it in the best way possible.

"I knew that if I could get to the race, even just get one lap in qualifying, get more or less in the mix, then the race would in some way be the easier session of the weekend, because you know you've got to do it and I can have a few more painkillers."

The result has left Lowes hungrier than ever for a world title.

Six of his seven years in MotoGP have been ridden in the Moto2 class, with a sole campaign, 2017, in the premier class – but a season Lowes has no fond memories of.

The year with Aprilia was nothing short of a disaster on difficult equipment, with only two points finishes and eight retirements.

As a result, Lowes knows Moto2 remains the best place for him next season, even after seeing his title rivals Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini promoted to the top class.

"I think every rider, and you'd be lying if you didn't say it, wants to go to MotoGP," Lowes said.

"I have been there for a year in not the best situation, so if I ever got the chance to go back as Moto2 world champion, with a great ride and great support, it is obviously something that I would love to do.

"But I would never go back there on a second tier bike and in the wrong situation again, because there is no sense.

"I have proven that a lot of the guys who are in MotoGP now and are doing well, I have raced and beaten before, so if you go in a good situation, then you can be competitive. If you go in the wrong situation like I did last time, you can't be.

"Right now if I can be Moto2 world champion then it is something than I would be very proud to do – it is much better than finishing at the back in MotoGP.

"But if I can go there in the future on a great bike then of course I would do it.

"If a British rider can win the Moto2 world championship then it would be a massive thing.

"It is hard to win world championships, they don't give them away and it is something that stays with you forever."

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