Alex Lowes will return to Team WFR for the 2012 British Superbike Championship with the Honda squad having confirmed their rider line-up for next season. The Yorkshire outfit will have one of the most exciting line-ups on the grid with the Lincolnshire youngster joined by Graeme Gowland and James Westmoreland.
Lowes started the 2011 campaign with WFR Honda and dominated the EVO class, winning five of the first six races before departing for MSS Colchester Kawasaki and eventually finishing the season at Motorpoint Yamaha. Lowes, who also had a run-out with Castrol Honda in World Superbikes, is happy to be returning to a team he feels comfortable in and can't wait to get started.
“I feel really good about the new season and returning to WFR Honda as I have had some of my best results with the team, so it is a mega opportunity for me. When we parted it was amicable and now I have been given the chance to return and we can really show what we are capable of. We want to be in that top six for the Showdown and you can see from this year how many riders had the chance of making the cut. I have a great team and two team-mates so we can push each other all the way. I can't wait to get out testing now so we can really hit the ground running.”
Following Lowes' departure, Graeme Gowland hit a stunning run of form which saw him win the final nine races in the EVO category, missing out on the title by 27 points to Glen Richards. The Northumberland believes the new rules, similar to the former EVO regulations but applied to the whole field, will give them an advantage early on in 2012.
“I can't wait for next year, it really can't come soon enough for me. I think that the experiences last season on the Evo spec bike has definitely taught me a lot in terms of race craft and tyre conservation that will probably catch some other riders out next year with the new rules. I was confident at the end of the season after a good set of results with overall top six finishes and then to have the test where we were able to test the new specification WFR Honda was great for me. It is a massive step for us as a team to have already got testing underway and also for me personally to have some consistency by staying with the team. I just need to thank everyone at Team WFR for giving me the chance to ride again with them and we really want to improve on our results in 2012.”
Westmoreland also competed for Team WFR during the 2011 season, running a 2012-spec bike at Donington Park, and is excited at the progress that has been made since then.
“It is great for me to know I am going to be working with team WFR Honda next season. I obviously finished last season with them and I know that we will have a good direction for 2012. I am made up about joining them for the full season as they put a lot of effort into their racing and for sure they have a great package. I rode a version of the 2012 specification bike at Donington Park and even between then and the end of the season there were big improvements. Then from the end of the season to the end of the recent test we had in Spain we saw even more changes and steps forward and we know what else we need to do before we start racing again next year. I am definitely feeling good about the new season and looking forward to getting out testing again in the new year.”
Managing Director Myles Schofield has made it clear that the team intends to challenge for the title next year and believes he has the riders capable of achieving it.
“I am thrilled to have three riders that represent the best young British talent, riding for Team WFR next year. We have known for a while who we wanted but to get all three of them is a great coup. I think this line up signals our intent – and that is to win the British Superbike Championship in 2012. As the leading Evo team I like to think we have a little bit of a head start and we'll certainly use what we learnt last year to the best of our advantage. We are also fortunate in that we have a three-pronged attack with a trio of riders who are all capable of winning races so I am very excited now to see what happens come April.”