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Jamie Klein

BMW not as far behind as it seems, says Kawasaki's Lowes

The German manufacturer has got its 2022 campaign off to a slow start, with just a single top-five finish courtesy of new signing Scott Redding to its credit across last month's Aragon and Assen events.

That has left BMW fifth and last in the manufacturers' standings, 10 points down on fourth-placed Honda, while Ducati convert Redding is a lowly 12th in the riders' table as he continues to adapt to the M1000RR.

Matters have not been helped by BMW's lead rider Michael van der Mark breaking his leg during the winter, forcing him to miss the Aragon opener and leaving him to scrap over minor points positions on his return at Assen.

But Lowes, who spent part of the final race at the Dutch venue battling Redding on his way to fourth place, thinks that van der Mark's return is sure to accelerate BMW's progress and make the marque a more formidable opponent.

"It wasn’t really a surprise [to be battling Redding]," said Lowes. "Look at Mikey [van der Mark], finishing eighth with one leg.

"I don’t really think they’ve gone backwards. It’s just Scott has joined the team coming from Ducati and he’ll take time to adjust. If Michael had done winter testing… last year he was battling for the podium with me in the first round.

"They’ve not gone backwards, it’s tight now and it doesn’t take much to be in there. [Redding] was riding well, the bike is fast.

"I think when Michael is back healthy and they’re pushing each other, I don’t think they are as far away as they think."

Van der Mark finished 13th in the first race at Assen, his first back from injury, before improving to eighth during the second full-length encounter of the weekend, three places behind teammate Redding.


The Dutch rider said he was simply happy to be able to compete having been unable to take part in the majority of BMW's winter testing programme.

"It was tough, especially Friday and Saturday," said van der Mark. "I couldn’t ride longer than four or five laps. On Saturday, when I did the whole race distance, I was really happy. I scored some points.

"I didn’t expect to do the whole distance because fitness and training wise, I couldn’t do a lot in the last couple of weeks. I couldn’t cycle a lot, I couldn’t walk. It was good to get on the bike again and get bike fit.

"In Race 2, a lot of things happened around me. I gained 13 seconds compared to Saturday. I finished eighth and I think we must be happy to be here."

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