Making a change at the crew chief position can reap rewards or add a new set of challenges. For Alex Lowes the 2018 season will see him work with Andrew Pitt and first impressions were very positive at the Jerez test.
A change can be as good as a holiday and having fresh eyes to look at a problem can lead to new solutions. For Alex Lowes, the 2018 season will see the former British champion work with a new crew chief, but following the Jerez test the Yamaha rider is excited by the prospect of working with Andrew Pitt.
“It’s been a really good,” said Lowes. “You’re always a bit anxious when you make a change like this because the rider crew chief relationship is probably the most important that you have. This week has been fantastic because a lot of the things I’ve been struggling with Andrew, with his experience as a rider, has been able to help me with a lot already. We put some new ideas into the pot that we didn’t have before and that’s transformed into some improvements on the bike. It’s been really good so far and this sort of relationship only gets better so I’m looking forward to the next tests as this couldn’t have gone any better.”
For Pitt, replacing Ian Prestwood who returns to BSB for 2018, the opportunity to work with Lowes came from left field, but it's one that he was keen to take on. Having worked with the Puccetti squad in recent years it had been expected that he would work with Toprak Razgatlıoglu for the coming season. With Sylvain Guintoli having also been linked to the team the change even took Pitt by surprise.
“I had expected to be working at Kawasaki until recently. Paul Denning approached me and said they could be making a change and he asked if I was interested. It was really an opportunity that I couldn't turn down. The chance to work with a rider as talented as Alex doesn't happen very often. It's was always going to be hard to break the news but now that we've had the first test I know it was the right decision for me. It was a no brainer really.”
Pitt, a former double World Supersport champion, has grown in stature and reputation in recent years for his no nonsense approach. The Australian is honest and direct with his riders, and that's something that could prove very useful in the coming season. Lowes has long been regarded as a great talent but with Yamaha having made strides in the development race last year the time is now for the team to make the final step.
In 2017 Lowes had five podiums and finished fifth in the standings. The goal for next season is to take the fight to the Kawasaki and Ducati riders and start winning races. A fresh set of eyes could make a big difference and Pitt is very aware that he needs to step up to the plate.
“Obviously when you join a new team you're nervous. You have so much to learn beforehand to be prepared and ready. When you start working with a top rider it's a new challenge and thankfully Alex has been really patient with me as I try and learn the R1 and get up to speed. We've been able to bounce off each really well this week and even though we had a long list of stuff to get through we've been able to make progress. We stuck to our program and didn't focus on anyone else. Our only goal was to keep ticking the jobs off our list. It's been a really positive first three days and I've really enjoyed it.”
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