Alex Lowes admits he has plenty of reasons to be happy despite a triple retirement derailing his late title charge at the final round of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch.
The 22-year-old from Lincoln went to Brands third in the standings and within striking distance of eventual champion Shane Byrne and Josh Brookes following his maiden victory at Silverstone.
He left the Northamptonshire circuit with two winners' trophies in his locker, but was brought back down to earth with a bang in Kent, crashing out from competitive positions in two races and suffering a mechanical problem in the other.
He fell while second in the first race as rain fell, before a technical fault forced his Team WFR Honda out at mid-distance during race two – a retirement which mathematically ended his slim title chances.
A collision on the final corner of race three with fellow Showdown contender Michael Laverty as they tussled for third place rounded off a weekend to forget.
But Lowes believes the 2012 season is not one he will forget in a hurry.
"It's been a great year for me because I feel like I really put myself on the map," he said. "I think there's a lot to be said for the way I finished the season, getting the podiums at Assen and then my first victory at Silverstone.
"Things were out of my control out there really, I slipped off with the rain falling in race one and then there was a problem with the engine in race two which I was aware of from about lap two.
"I tried to race through it, but it was pretty obvious after a while the bike wasn't going to do it so I had to bring it into the pits.
"I think there's a lot to be said for this season and I'm really glad I gave a good account of myself when the Showdown came to a head."
After being tipped as a future star by 2012 champion Byrne following his Silverstone success, Lowes will be one of the hottest prospects for teams looking to secure a new rider for next season.
But, despite his remarkable rise to prominence in the BSB ranks this year, he is remaining tight lipped on his future.
"I haven't decided what I'm doing next year," he said. "We achieved a lot of good things this season and I'm proud to have been part of it – I finished the season on a high despite what happened at Brands and I'm proud of that."
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