First Steps Taken Towards 2017 as Lowes and Van Der Mark Complete Aragon Shakedown
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team returned to Spain this week as preparations began for the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. Completing two days at Motorland Aragon's 5,077m circuit, the YZF-R1's were put through their paces as the Yamaha crew evaluated a raft of hardware and electronics updates. Alex Lowes and new teammate Michael van der Mark were satisfied with the progress made and new information discovered.
Totalling 141 laps across the 14 hours of track time, Lowes concentrated on multiple race simulations to evaluate the new season parts, witnessing improvements to consistency and lap-times on old tyres from that of his 2016 pace and confirming the appropriate direction for continued development. New chassis components also provided additional success both in initial analysis and under detailed longer runs, while multiple geometry and suspensions settings were fine-tuned to improve the Briton's feeling further.
Van der Mark's introduction to the Pata Yamaha team and machine also proved productive. Initially concentrating on basic set up, balance and understanding his YZF-R1, the Dutchman quickly got comfortable with his new Superbike allowing consistent and impressive pace throughout the test - without pushing for outright times - and already improving on the Yamaha's level of performance achieved during April's race visit.
With the extensive testing program complete and additional areas now identified for targeted development, Lowes and van der Mark are looking forward to 2016's final on-track analysis ahead of the winter break, as the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team travels to Andalucía for three days of testing, scheduled at Circuito de Jerez next week.
"We've worked really hard over the past two days and it's been a good test overall here at Aragon. The final day was probably the best testing day I've had on the R1, with some great consistency and pace during the long race simulations, so I am leaving happy.
"The technical developments have been positive but also the new additions to the team and the way the structure is working seems a good step forward. Michael looks good on the bike and is relaxed and smiling so that's a positive too!
"After these two interesting days we know where we must improve and I feel like the team are working in a good way to achieve that, so I'm looking forward to continuing the work at Jerez next week."