Pata Yamaha Successfully Concludes Pre-season Testing at Portimão
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team concluded a successful four days of pre-season testing at Portugal's Autodromo do Algarve this afternoon. Sharing the 4,592m track with over 30 World Superbike, Supersport and BSB riders, Alex Lowes and teammate Michael van der Mark completed their respective test programmes and provided Yamaha's engineers with detailed feedback to assist with the next stage of the WorldSBK YZF-R1's performance development.
Encouraging progress throughout the week's previous three days' testing allowed a steady start to the final day as the Pata Yamaha Team completed a thorough rebuild of Lowes' YZF-R1 after Saturday afternoon's crash, ensuring the machine's recalibrations and functions were to the correct specifications to continue the evaluation. With increasingly threatening dark clouds overhead, the British rider immediately set out on a race simulation, choosing to concentrate on consistency rather than on single-lap performance. Accomplishing his goal with excellence over full race distance, Lowes opened the run with a 1'43.2 and concluded on an equally competitive 1'43.7, 20 laps later - the British rider also completing a second 12-lap run as the afternoon progressed. Lowes produced a best time of 1'42.533 on his 54th lap of the day, tallying 128 across the Portuguese weekend. Having collated data and feedback on multiple newly-developed control strategies and working on his riding style as the race simulations developed, the team now has an array of information to continue its fine-tuning of the YZF-R1 ahead of the championship opener in a month's time.
Having fully explored his set-up options with his newly-acquired Yamaha Superbike, van der Mark concluded January testing with a best of 1'42.794 on his 75th lap of the Algarve circuit, happy with the direction of progress. With every chassis adjustment providing valuable information for the Yamaha rookie, the continued evaluation of the ideal balance between grip and agility of the machine alongside its stability, both under braking and acceleration, has left the Dutchman confident of the YZF-R1's performance on new and used rubber. With 144 laps of the Portimão "rollercoaster" under his belt, van der Mark can now turn his attention to the first race of the year on Saturday 25th February.
European testing concluded, packing and preparation is now the order of the day as the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team readies itself to travel to Australia for the 'Yamaha Finance' opening round of the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship and the official test at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit commencing on Monday 20th February.
1'42.533 / 128 laps
"Honestly, I have to say we had two really good winter tests this week. Yesterday was difficult as we had a little problem but I'm really pleased with the way the team has worked and how I have worked overall. We completed another full race simulation today and it felt good, so we've put the work in as much as we can for the time we've had. I feel like I'm riding well and I'm looking forward to going to Australia. I've enjoyed the tests, you always want to do better but I've achieved what I set out to achieve. I can still improve myself on a few areas and get a little more comfortable but the YZF-R1 is feeling really like "my bike" now and I'm ready to go at Phillip Island - I'm looking forward to it!"
Michael van der Mark
1'42.794 / 144 laps
"It was nice to get out on track early today, as this gave us the time to try many things on the bike and work out the correct direction to go. We also completed a race simulation and although I did not have the rhythm I wanted to achieve, it highlighted something to work on for the afternoon. In the end I am quite happy, we completed some good laps and my times are a lot closer than where we started at the beginning of the week so we have made some good progress. We also had the chance to try the 'longer distance' 2017 Pirelli rear qualifier which was interesting, I'm not sure when we will have the opportunity to use this at a race but it is a positive addition. I'm really happy to have had four good days of winter testing before we head to Phillip Island - thanks to the team and to Yamaha, I am enjoying myself on the YZF-R1!"
"As the riders have said, these four days have been very useful and we have made solid progress. The January weather has also been very kind - between Michael and Alex we have completed over 2500km of full-pace running at Jerez and here at Portimão, which we hope will pay dividends when we reach the first race events.
"I have to thank Yamaha Motor Europe's engineers and the team for their collective efforts since the end of the November tests. The 2017 WorldSBK YZF-R1 is a significant step forward compared to the 2016 bike, and there is more performance to come. A huge amount of effort and dedication has been invested, and everybody involved in the project feels a positive sense of momentum as we approach the first race. This includes the riders and they also have really put the work in, demonstrating superb fitness and concentration levels at these tests.
"Pata Yamaha's 2017 livery will be launched on February 7th at Yamaha Motor Racing's HQ, and we are all looking forward to pushing "Racing Blue" towards the WorldSBK podium as soon as possible."