Solid Progress in the Sun for Pata Yamaha as Imola Weekend Begins
The Pata Yamaha Official World Superbike Team made the most of the gorgeous weather at Imola on Friday as they kicked off round five of the FIM 2017 Superbike World Championship. The picturesque setting led to some good progress on track too as both Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark adapted well to the Imola circuit on their 2017 specification Yamaha YZF-R1s, finishing Friday in sixth and eighth positions respectively on the combined timesheets and ensuring direct progress through to SP2.
Lowes had a slightly compromised morning session as he struggled to find the right front-end setup on his R1. After making some adjustments, he improved towards the end of FP1 to finish in 11th with a 1:48.564. The British rider used the warmer afternoon session to work on his race setup, focusing on corner entry improvements. The 26-year-old left it until his last lap in the afternoon to set a 1:48.089, ending the day in sixth overall and feels confident he can make another step on Saturday at a track he enjoys.
Van der Mark carried on where he left off in Assen as he got to grips with the Imola circuit for the first time on a Yamaha. The Dutch rider made good progress in the morning, finishing FP1 in seventh with a 1:48.265. In FP2 he also focused on working on race pace and trying to improve his feeling with the rear grip, ending the day in eighth on the combined timesheets with a 1:48.265. The 24-year-old was happy with the work done by his team and feels positive that they can make more progress tomorrow.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK team return to the track on Saturday morning at Imola for FP3 at 8.45am local time, with qualifying starting at 10:30am and the 19-lap race scheduled for 13:00 pm local time.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
We had quite a difficult day, to be honest, Ive not quite felt 100% on the bike and with its setup, but weve been chipping away and we have got a lot of information. The biggest place where I have struggled is on corner entry and because I cant get that right at the moment, I am also losing a lot on exit, so thats what we will work on tonight. I feel like we have done okay and I am hoping to find two or three tenths tonight to put us in a good position tomorrow. In general I am quite happy, I love the track and of course, it is Pata our title sponsors home round, so its almost like a home race. I am looking forward to the races and hopefully tonight we can make a couple of steps.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
It not been an easy day, but it is Friday and just free practice, so we must be happy we made it through to SP2. We struggled quite a lot with the grip, but in other sections, I feel quite confident on the bike. We have to focus on the rear for tomorrow, but I think we did a good job today and tomorrow we can improve our lap time. We improved the front a lot today, but we need to make the bike more stable at the rear. Its not been easy, its a really demanding track, but I am feeling positive for tomorrow.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
Imola is an extremely technical and challenging track and today has reflected that for the Pata Yamaha team. Both riders have been on a very similar pace, unable to unlock the setting that will allow them to grow in confidence and compete with the top guys. That said, through a great effort from both riders and team, both improved in FP2 and are safely in the top 10. The grid position is very important at this track, so that in itself is a step in the right direction, but we do need to find more potential in the R1 and improve before qualifying and race one tomorrow I am sure that we can achieve a good step forward!