Van der Mark Rides to Confident Fifth in Aragon Race 2, Lowes Recovers to Score Points
Pata Yamaha Official World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark repeated yesterday's promising results with another fifth place finish in today's second race for the FIM Superbike World Championship Motorland Aragon round. Teammate Alex Lowes initially led the race before an issue saw him drop to 13th.
Dutchman van der Mark enjoyed a front row start today after yesterday's fifth place finish and was clearly enjoying the early laps in the front group, tucked in to second behind his teammate Lowes. Despite being passed by a couple of the fastest riders, van der Mark was able to keep the group in sight and maintain an impressive pace. As the race developed, front tyre grip dropped dramatically due to the colder temperatures and high winds, however this didn't stop him from bringing his R1 home in fifth position to match yesterday's race result.
Teammate Lowes had a less fortunate race experience. The young Brit made a brilliant start from pole, taking the holeshot into turn one and leading the race into the first corners with his teammate tucked in behind. As the key protagonists joined the fray Lowes was able to maintain the pace and keep the podium fight within his sights. Disaster struck when a missed gear going in to the last chicane caused him to lock up and run off track at turn 14, requiring 22 seconds to get back and re-join the race. Unshaken, he was immediately back up to podium pace to the end, unfortunately too far back to make up any places, and finished in 13th.
Michael van der Mark - 5th
"I'm really happy, we had a good start in second behind Alex, then Johnny Rea passed me and then Marco Melandri passed me on the straight. I was a little bit slower than the guys in front of me but I could hold on to them so I was happy with that. For sure we've made another step forward; that is really good. In the end I struggled with the front tyre, we were on the softer front option and I think today with the wind it made it worse. I'm happy finishing fifth, and it was good to fight in the front group. I want to thank the team for all their hard work. Everybody is working really very hard and we can see the potential is developing well. We are making progress and I'm happy."
Alex Lowes - 13th
"I'm annoyed but it's my first small mistake in a race this year. It wasn't all my fault, I haven't been 100% happy with the shifting on the bike and just at that point I didn't get the shift quite right and missed the gear. I ran off and that was it, 20 seconds gone right there to get back in to the race. The team have done a fantastic job, my bike was great and I would have liked to be on the podium so overall I've got to be happy with the potential. When I got back on track my pace was similar to Marco Melandri's but I was a long way behind. I'm upset that we had an opportunity to fight for the podium and we didn't take it. I feel good and I really feel we have made a good step forward on the bike. I need to improve in the first few laps but my race pace the second half of the race is good and I fully believe I could have been battling with the guys for the podium today. That's my goal for Assen, keep consistent, keep working hard and keep having fun."
"Michael rode a really strong race today from the front row, putting the R1 in the podium fight. Unfortunately, due to a combination of front tyre choice and the extremely cold and strong wind, the tyre degradation compared to race one was considerably worse and we didn't have anything left to fight with in the last five or six laps. Two fifth places is a strong and positive result for Michael. His understanding and riding style is moving forward to match the R1's characteristics, so we move on to his home track of Assen with positive aspirations!
A disappointing race two result today for Alex, yet on reflection there are still many positives for the Pata Yamaha World Superbike project and Alex to take away. He looked very comfortable in fourth position, hadn't been dropped by the podium fight and was right on Melandri's rear wheel when he suffered a small problem that caused him to run off the track. Nonetheless, I'm sure on reflection Alex will balance his disappointment with the fact that we were competitive and potentially in the fight for the podium, at a track we didn't perform well at in 2016. Its another signal that we and the R1 have moved forward and we will do our best to take the next step."