Alex Lowes looking forward to working with Kiyonari at Samsung Honda
Alex Lowes is relishing his partnership with Ryuichi Kiyonari and believes both can mount a challenge for the British Superbike crown in 2013.
The Lincoln racer will ride alongside the three-time BSB champion this year after earning a sought-after spot with one of the most successful teams in the paddock, writes Mark Whiley.
Samsung Honda (formally HM Plant Honda) boast a rich history in British Superbikes, with the Japanese rider winning all three of his titles with the Louth-based squad.
And after a disastrous 2011 campaign, a refreshed Kiyonari is back for another crack at BSB in a bid to win a fourth championship.
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Lowes is full of respect for his new team-mate, but after superb 2012 campaign, which saw him reach the Showdown, he is out for title glory too.
The 22-year-old believes he will only benefit from having such an illustrious team-mate.
"I've got a lot of respect for him," said Lowes.
"He's a three-time British champion and it's going to be great working with him.
"When Kiyo first came over to England I was really young and I looked up to him.
"I hope Kiyo is going to be really fast and if we have both our bikes challenging for the championship, it'll be a great year for Honda."
Lowes – riding for the now defunct WFR Honda squad – secured his first BSB victories at Silverstone last year following a memorable battle with eventual champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne.
But despite enjoying his best year of racing yet, he insists there is still room for improvement.
"I can improve in lots of areas," declared the former North Kesteven School pupil.
"My speed is good, but my consistency can improve and my set-up work can improve, but I will work hard at that.
"There's plenty of room for improvement and in testing I'm going to be working really hard to do that."
Lowes is no stranger to the CBR1000RR Fireblade having ridden it so successfully for WFR last year.
So his priority before the season opener at Brands Hatch in early April is to get to use to his new surroundings.
"We've got some new tyres for this year and I've got to understand them and work well with the team," he said.
"That's more important than the bike to be honest because I'm pretty confident the bike will be quick and that it can win races."
Lowes is due to test at Cadwell next week before an official BSB test at Donington Park on March 14.