Pata Yamaha Shine in the Sun at Magny-Cours
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team enjoyed a superb Friday under the Magny-Cours sun at round 11 of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship, with both riders making it through to SP2. After showing good pace in the morning, Michael van der Mark put in a stunning late charge in FP2 to end the day in second overall on the timesheets. His teammate Alex Lowes also impressed, setting a good pace and demonstrating excellent consistency to finish in eighth on a day where less than 0.3s separated the riders in second and tenth positions.
The sun was out with temperatures hitting 27°C on Friday at the Circuit Nevers de Magny-Cours and van der Mark - fresh from his maiden Yamaha podium at Portimao - wasted no time getting down to work in FP1 after finding a new base setting with his Pata Yamaha R1 at the recent official test. Finishing the morning's session in seventh with a best time of 1:38.548, less than 0.7s off the top, filled the 24-year-old Dutch rider with confidence and in the afternoon's FP2 session he managed to make another step with his team. Heading out on a fresh set of tyres in the dying moments, he improved spectacularly on his penultimate lap by over 0.5s to set a 1:37.928 to secure second on the combined timesheets, 0.439s off the pace of Jonathan Rea. Unfortunately, the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend is wet but, even so, van der Mark is feeling confident that he can perform whatever the conditions throw at him.
Lowes also rode superbly on Friday and showed no ill-effects of his crash at Portimao, despite not being at 100%. The 27-year-old British rider hit the ground running in FP1, setting a 1:38.320 to finish in sixth, just 0.471s off the leader. In the afternoon, he put in a race simulation and showed incredible consistency as he reeled off 11 consecutive laps in the low 1'39s and collected some valuable data for the team. Towards the end of the session, he pitted for some fresh rubber and went back out to improve to a 1:38.133 to finish the day in eighth overall, happy with the work done. The time was made even more impressive by the fact Lowes set it on his own at a track where a "tow" seemed to benefit other riders, with his time just 0.205s off the pace of his teammate in one of the closest sessions of the season.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team are back in action for FP3 on Saturday morning at 8:45 am local time, with qualifying due to start at 10:30 am and Race 1 scheduled for 13:00 pm. Check out the combined Friday results.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 2nd - 1:37.928
"I am really happy! This morning we started quite strong and we improved lap by lap. I was feeling better and better, then we changed something on the front of the bike and we made another step, which was good enough for P7 this morning. For FP2 we didn't try anything at the start because the temperature had risen dramatically and we wanted to see what the track was like. After my first run we tried out a different rear spring and tyre options, but it wasn't really an improvement. Towards the end, we went the other way and then I went out on a new set of tyres and made a really good lap time, so I am happy. I am P2, but everyone is so close at the moment. I am happy we are in SP2, but it looks like rain tomorrow so we will have to start again!"
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 8th - 1:38.133
"I am happy with my pace, I think some guys got a decent tow, which makes my time even better in an amazingly close session. I think we've done a good job today, my feeling with the Pata Yamaha R1 was okay. The issue for everyone is that it was nice and dry today, but the rest of the weekend is forecast to be wet, so we might have to start again tomorrow. I am feeling good and will give it everything no matter what the weather!"
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"It has been a surprisingly nice day weather-wise in Magny-Cours which has allowed all of the WorldSBK teams to work hard and to show a very competitive pace. Aside from Jonathan Rea having a bit of a gap at the front, the rest of the top ten is incredibly tightly stacked both in terms of their best lap time and also their race pace. We had a good day's work for both riders, lots of laps and when it mattered both Michael and Alex put their heads down to secure their slot in SP2. Alex is still in some discomfort after his Portimao crash, but isn't allowing it to affect his potential, and completed a near race distance run in FP2 with extremely good consistency. That always helps when it comes to building performance for the race weekend. Michael and his crew used the new base setting that they found in the Portimao test and it is encouraging that the setting worked quite well, with some adjustments, from the start here in Magny-Cours. After a very solid FP1, it was great to see Michael and the R1 top the day off with P2 right at the end of FP2. The weather forecast does not look great for tomorrow, it well may be a case of "start again", but nonetheless today has been a good introduction for the Pata Yamaha team to the Magny-Cours event."