Challenging Friday for Pata Yamaha at the Lausitzring
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team put in a sterling effort at the Lausitzring on Friday for round 9 of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship, despite having to deal with thunderstorms and a red flag in FP2. Alex Lowes ended the day 10th quickest overall, the British rider making it straight through to SP2 despite a technical issue in FP2. Michael van der Mark was unlucky to end the day outside the top ten after he was caught out by the timing of the red flag and the subsequent wet weather. The Dutch rider finished the day just 0.071s behind his teammate in 11th, meaning he will have to fight his way through SP1 tomorrow.
The team was forced to work hard to catch their competitors after missing the recent test at the Lausitzring due to the riders' Suzuka 8 Hours commitments. Despite this, Lowes managed to end the morning's FP1 session in 10th with a 1:38.470 after spending the session searching for a good setup on his R1. In FP2, the 26-year-old British rider was looking good to improve on this time after making some changes to his bike before a technical issue forced him to pull off track. The red flag was shown due to the track conditions, but luckily for Lowes that is when a heavy thunderstorm hit the circuit causing an hour delay in proceedings. Incredibly, as they waited for the track to dry, the team managed to change the engine in Lowes' R1 before the session resumed. This allowed Lowes to head back out in the wet, although the chance to improve his time from FP1 had gone and he ended the day in 10th overall.
His teammate van der Mark also spent the morning's FP1 session searching for a good setup on his R1 and finished just behind Lowes in 11th with a 1:38.744. After making some changes to his bike for FP2 the 24-year-old struggled to find a good feeling on old tyres at the start of the session but once he had fitted new rubber to his R1 he immediately made a step and felt good on the bike. He was one of only four riders to improve their times in FP2 as he set a 1:38.541. Unfortunately, just as he was about to challenge for a Top 10 position, the red flag came out and with it the torrential rain. That ended any chance van der Mark would have to improve on his time, although it was still good enough to hold onto 11th overall on the timesheets.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team are back in action on Saturday at 8:45am local time for FP3, with qualifying starting at 11:30am and Race 1 at 1pm.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 10th - 1:38.470
"It was nice to be back out on my Pata Yamaha R1! After missing the test here, we could have done with a bit more of a consistent day. In FP2 it was amazing that the guys managed to change the engine in such a short space of time, so I want to say a huge thank you to everyone in mine and Michael's team who helped out. We have a lot of work to do in terms of improving our level this weekend, so we will have a think tonight and see what we can do tomorrow. The podium fight looks difficult for us but we can definitely take a step forward."
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 11th - 1:38.541
"This morning was a little bit difficult as we were trying to find a better setup for the bike and it proved tricky. This afternoon we changed quite a lot and at first, it didn't really work for me, but then we put some new tyres in and I made quite a step. Unfortunately, that was when the red flag came out and then the rain came! At that point I was 11th, which is a shame as I had the pace to get through to SP2. I think we could have improved the bike a lot more if it stayed dry but we have to live with it. One positive point was that when the session re-started it was wet and I had a great feeling with the bike, so it felt good to do some laps in those conditions as you never know what will happen on race day. We have to improve some more things on the bike, but I think we are going in the right direction."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"While Alex and Michael were in Japan testing, racing, and more importantly winning the Suzuka 8 Hours, our competitors were here at the Lausitzring doing a two-day test. Therefore, we fully expected to be further away from them than we would like on day one, simply based on the fact we haven't had the luxury of that additional track time and setup work. That said, the gap to the front riders is not too bad. It would have been nice to have two full dry sessions to improve further but I think that we can improve in positions compared to where we are now. Lausitzring is probably not a favourable circuit for the character of the R1, so we will look to maximise what we can achieve here over the next two days and really look forward to moving on to happier hunting grounds at Portimao."