2017 WorldSBK Misano - Riviera di Rimini
Pata Yamaha Make Solid Start in the Misano Sun
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team's Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes made solid progress during Free Practice on Friday at a sun-drenched Misano, for round seven of the 2017 FIM World Superbike World Championship. Track temperatures reached 50°C and both riders worked hard in the heat to make it through to SP2 automatically, with van der Mark ending the day in eighth position and Lowes in tenth.
Van der Mark was feeling confident that he could hit the ground running here at Misano after only just missing out on the podium in race two at Donington and the team's subsequent private test at Misano two weeks ago. In FP1 he managed a 1:35.867, but didn't quite have the right feeling with his R1 to perform at his best. In FP2 van der Mark focused on trying to rediscover the feeling he had at the test, showing good consistency and promising race pace, improving to a 1:35.718 to end the day in eighth overall, 0.817s off the pace of the leader.
Lowes secured his maiden podium for the team in race one at Donington Park and was determined to carry on the good work the team did at the Misano test. Like his teammate though, he could not quite find the rhythm and feeling on his R1 that he enjoyed at the test in today's conditions. Despite a couple of small crashes in FP1 he ended the session in 11th with a 1'36.379. In the afternoon, the 26-year-old British rider managed to improve by almost half a second to set a 1:35.883 to finish in tenth overall and secure his passage through to SP2.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team will be back in action on Saturday at Misano for FP3 at 8:45am local time, with qualifying starting at 10:30 and the 21-lap race scheduled for Sunday at 1pm in the afternoon.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 8th 1:35.718
"I have mixed feelings today. We left the test here two weeks ago full of confidence and I expected to come here and be fast straight away. It was a bit of a surprise, because we were struggling today in the areas that we improved during the test. For me it's a question of why are we struggling in those points, as the temperatures are the same as the test and the track is the same. In the end, we made it through to SP2 which is good, but we need to find the rhythm we had at the test. If we can do that we will be a lot closer to the guys at the front. We know we can do it, but first we have to find out why it is not working today. I had good consistency, but we were missing out under braking, and we have to try and find more grip."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 10th 1:35.883
"Today has been tough. The track doesn't feel the same as it did at the test and we haven't been able to get the same feeling. We need to do a little bit of work but I didn't feel too bad this afternoon. It's always nice to ride this track, its 30°C and the sun is shining! Obviously, I don't want to be tenth but I improved my times, we got some good data and we will try and improve further tomorrow. We have had worse Fridays and the only thing that counts is the race. We just need to work on a few changes to give me a bit more confidence with the bike mid-corner, plus I will work on my style a little bit, and I am looking forward to making some good progress tomorrow."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"It was hard and hot work for both riders and the team here today in Misano. Having had a very successful test here directly after Donington, we hoped that the transition to the race weekend would be a little easier, but honestly speaking, we have struggled to replicate the same performance we experienced in the test. The track temperature is similar, so whether its track condition, humidity, or something that we are missing in the setting, it needs to be understood this evening. Despite that, both riders are performing at a very consistent level and our best lap times have come on older tyres, so it looks like we can maintain our pace quite well already. The plan is to find more outright performance from the Pata Yamaha R1 tomorrow, qualify as well as we can and try to take a good step forward."