Rain in Spain Halts Pata Yamaha Jerez Test after Positive Two Days on Track
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team's three-day test schedule was cut short at the Circuito de Jerez today, as heavy rain, strong winds and chilling temperatures hit the Andalucían region. However, the promising work already undertaken during Wednesday and Thursday's sessions by Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark has left the squad pleased with the outcome and confident the information garnered will see them positively through the winter's development stage.
Continuing the detailed evaluation work from Aragon, Lowes navigated the 4,423m layout completing 92 laps during the opening two, cool but sun-filled days at the southern Spanish circuit. With two fully-dedicated YZF-R1's and a prototype-prepared machine at his disposal, the British rider concentrated on improving his race pace in reference to his MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship competitors - utilising only the Pirelli tyres employed during October's event as his reference - while he traversed the extensive Yamaha test plan featuring both performance and fundamental parts testing with much success. New 2017 prototype chassis design parts were analysed on track for the first time by Lowes and his new Dutch teammate, with important feedback documented for further development by Yamaha Motor Europe's R&D ahead of the new season's January testing. Lowes concludes 2016 confident with his improved pace, having recorded his fastest ever Jerez lap on race rubber - a 1'40.142 - despite struggling with ongoing flu conditions and deciding to sit out of Friday's wet session to recuperate.
Team rookie van der Mark continued the positive showing seen at last week's debut as he familiarised himself further with his YZF-R1 and Pata Yamaha crew at Jerez. Choosing to set a small number of laps during Friday's dismal downpour, allowing him his first taste of the Yamaha Superbike in the wet, the 23-year-old concluded his final three days in Spain with a tally of 154 laps. Running an equally demanding schedule to his British counterpart, van der Mark used the eight hour days to focus on both his individual set-up and performance elements, while also adding to the evaluation of prototype components for next season.
"Overall the test was quite positive for us here in Jerez. We tested a wide variety of parts and made progress in a few of the areas where I have struggled in the past, while also identifying where we still need to improve to close the gap to the front. We were lucky with the weather for the first two days as the forecast wasn't great before we arrived but I haven't been feeling very well throughout this week so I decided to sit out the wet conditions on the final day. With four good days on track complete I can also go into the winter break with a clear understanding of what I need to work on and where I must improve to be better next year. As always I want to say a massive thank you to all the team, it's been a very tough year and I really appreciate their work, now let's focus on 2017!"