2017 Spanish Shakedown Proves Positive for Pata Yamaha
2017 has officially begun for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team as Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark successfully concluded the first half of a four-day test scheduled on the Iberian Peninsula. Circuito de Jerez provided the opening location for the Yamaha duo's return to their YZF-R1's and with two full days on track under the Spanish winter sun, both riders completed extensive and important work.
Yamaha's engineers had worked relentlessly throughout the short winter break since the end of the November tests preparing extensively modified, new-spec YZF-R1's for the 2017 season, so Tuesday's initial track action was more of a shakedown for the Pata Yamaha Team. Carefully evaluating the raft of upgrades and modifications, both riders found their rhythm around the 4,423m circuit as the day progressed, while the team gelled well with their new colleagues from Yamaha Motor Europe and Yamaha Motor Japan.
Lowes concentrated his efforts on electronic performance development on the opening day, honing the new Yamaha strategies before switching his attention to more detailed chassis set-up work on Wednesday. Specifically focusing on the front forks set up and corner entry performance for his final day at the Spanish circuit, the Englishman also used the afternoon session to set out on a race-simulation. Initially thwarted by a red flag on his third lap, he eventually completed a 23-lap run with consistent and positive times. Lowes concluded the two days with a lap-tally of 138, his best time - a 1'40.600 - set on the same race compounds used during October's race event.
Focusing on chassis set up to fine-tune his feeling with his newly-acquired WorldSBK-spec YZF-R1, van der Mark spent the first hours on track assessing the developments made since November. With the hardware in place, the Dutchman used the second day to concentrate on the electronics, completing 145 laps and utilising his teammate's feedback from the previous sessions as well as his own impressions to create a progressive and successful overall test for the Pata Yamaha outfit.
Portugal's Autódromo Internacional do Algarve is the concluding location for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team as it prepares to head west for a further two days of testing scheduled for Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January.
1'40.600 / 138 laps
"Another good day's work for us at Jerez! Today we worked hard with some new chassis settings and found something that works with my style that I am looking to try and improve further when we get to Portimao. I also completed a race simulation this afternoon so I can be happy and positive with both mine and the whole team's work over the two days. The power delivery and throttle connection really took a step forward compared to last year as well, it has been nice to make progress in that area - I really enjoyed the bike here at Jerez! Thanks to all the boys, and let's keep the momentum going this weekend."
Michael van der Mark
1'41.450 / 145 laps
"It's been another busy day today. During the morning we made a big step forward with the handling of the bike and I felt so much more confident. After that we just kept trying different chassis elements to see what I prefer or not. Today proved that we are really consistent which is good but we still have to make another step in terms of pure performance. I'm sure the guys have enough data to work on to improve the bike even more, and on my side I think there is something more I can do to help the laptime with the R1, so we will see what Portimao brings."