Lowes & van der Mark Looking to Continue Progress at Imola
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team riders Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark head to Italy this weekend for round five of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship at the legendary Imola circuit, looking to build on the excellent progress they have made so far this season. At the last round in Assen the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R1 once again showed its potential in race two with van der Mark and Lowes finishing in fourth and fifth positions respectively. The team now want to continue their encouraging start to the season with another good performance in Italy, as they look to secure their first podium of the season.
Lowes is currently fifth in the championship standings with 76 points, trailing Italian Marco Melandri in fourth by 21 points. The British rider enjoyed an excellent Sunday in Assen, riding through the pack from 15th on the grid to cross the line in fifth and claim 11 championship points. Lowes is looking forward to making even more progress at Imola, a track where he secured a top six finish in race two last year. The impressive 26-year-old has finished as close as 0.1 second from the podium already this season, showing just how competitive the new Yamaha YZF-R1 is, and is looking to carry the confidence he gained in race two at Assen to a circuit he clearly enjoys.
Michael van der Mark had a memorable home round in Assen last time out. Despite a disappointing Saturday Race 1, he bounced back in incredible style on Sunday in front of his passionate home crowd to secure an impressive fourth place from 11th on the grid. The 23-year-old scythed his way through the field to the delight of the vociferous fans and is now sixth in the championship standings with 62 points, just 14 behind his teammate Lowes. This is van der Marks first race at the legendary Italian track for Yamaha, with the Dutch rider looking to continue the impressive start to the season he has made on his Pata Yamaha R1.
The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola first hosted a motorcycle race in 1953 and is a firm favourite amongst supporters and riders alike, due to its fast but technical nature. Located 40 kilometres east of Bologna the 4.936km circuit is named after the Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari and his son Dino. The layout of the track has changed considerably over the years and it is one of the few tracks on the calendar that runs anti-clockwise. It now consists of 22 corners and combines high speed turns along with a number of chicanes and the Tosa Hairpin, with a longest straight of just 358m.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team riders will take to the iconic track for Free Practice on Friday at 9:45am local time, with both races taking place at 13:00 on Saturday and Sunday.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
Imola is a great track with lots of character and is similar to the type of tracks I grew up on in British Superbikes. We finished Assen with a positive result and I got a lot of confidence from race two so I'm excited to get to Imola with the goal of a solid weekend, looking for the best results possible. It's also the home race for Pata so we will have a lot of support, which I am really looking forward to.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
I am looking forward to Imola. It was a hectic weekend at Assen, but in the end the result was really good. I hope we can continue our form and fight for the top 5 again. Imola is a completely different track compared to the tracks we have been to so far, so I'm curious to see how the R1 will work here with the base setup we have. I'm confident we can have a good weekend.