2018 WorldSBK Misano - Riviera di Rimini
Three is the Magic Number in Misano for the Pata Yamaha Team
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team are looking to continue their recent excellent run of results under the Adriatic sun at Round 9 of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship as they launch a triple-pronged assault at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli this weekend. Michael van der Mark heads to Italy third in the WorldSBK Championship standings after missing out on the podium at Laguna Seca and is determined to fight back at a track where he came so close to securing victory last year. Alex Lowes recorded his third podium of 2018 in Race 2 at Laguna Seca and will be looking to continue his excellent form in Misano where he stormed to second in Race 1 last year. They will be joined on track by official Test Rider Niccolò Canepa for the second time this season as Yamaha continues the excellent development work on the YZF-R1 that has seen it emerge as a genuine contender in 2018.
The Pata Yamaha team are looking forward to getting back into action for Round 9 before the long WorldSBK summer break kicks in after demonstrating 2018's progress at the last round in Laguna Seca. The US track is one that the R1 has traditionally struggled at in the past, but a much stronger set of results for the team in 2018 means they head to Misano full of confidence as historically, it is a circuit that really plays to the machine's strengths with van der Mark only denied the chance of victory in 2017 by cruel fate and Lowes recording a podium.
Van der Mark recorded an eighth-place finish in Race 1 at Laguna Seca after suffering from a lack of grip but bounced back superbly in Race 2 to enjoy an excellent battle with his teammate Lowes, before crossing the line in fifth. The 25-year-old Dutch rider was happy with the improvements made over the weekend and heads to Misano full of confidence after leading for the majority of Race 1 at the track last year, before being denied the chance of victory due to an issue beyond his or the team's control. He recovered to finish Race 2 in a superb fourth place and with the improvements that have been made to the R1 in 2018, van der Mark is relishing the chance to battle for victory once more in Misano. He is currently third in the overall championship standings with 215 points, just 30 points behind Chaz Davies in second, and has already accumulated only eight points less than his tally for the entire 2017 (223 points) season after just eight rounds.
Lowes is riding the crest of a wave of confidence after a run of superb results, including his maiden WorldSBK victory in Race 2 at Brno, and he continued this excellent run of form in the USA by charging from fifth on the grid to secure his third podium of the season in Race 1, before coming out on top of the superb battle with his teammate for fourth in Race 2. Lowes stormed to second in Race 1 at Misano last year and was battling for the podium in Race 2 before, unfortunately, crashing out, so the 27-year-old British is confident with the improvements made in 2018 that he will be able to take the fight to his rivals once more. Lowes' recent run of form has seen him move up to fifth in the championship with 183 points, just 13 behind Tom Sykes in fourth.
Van der Mark and Lowes will be joined once more by the team's official Test Rider Niccolò Canepa as a wildcard in Misano on the Pata Yamaha development R1. The 30-year-old Italian - who is a former MotoGP and Moto2 rider - and his GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team are the reigning Endurance World Champions and he comes into the Misano round on the back of a third-place finish at the Oschersleben 8 Hours, with his experience and input key to helping the team improve the Pata Yamaha R1. After a positive recent private test by Canepa in Mugello, he is looking forward to getting back on the WorldSBK-Spec R1 at his home round in front of the passionate Italian fans.
The Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli is a fast, flowing, and technical track located next to the picturesque town of Misano Adriatico in the province of Rimini, North East Italy. A firm favourite with riders and fans alike, it held its first event in 1972 and the iconic track is 4.226km in length, consisting of ten right and six left-handed corners, plus has a start-finish straight of 510m. The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team will hit the track at 9:45 am Friday morning for FP1, while qualifying starts at 10:30 am Saturday with Race 1 at 1:00 pm and Sunday's Race 2 at 1:00 pm.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 3rd - 215 points
"I am really looking forward to Misano! It is one of my favourite race weekends of the calendar, especially at this point of the season where we are having such strong results with the R1. I think we highlighted how much we have improved the overall package by our performance in Race 2 at Laguna, as that is a track we have struggled at in the past. Misano is different, it suits the R1s strengths and I am excited to see what we can do this weekend. The target in Misano is to get back on the podium!"
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 5th - 183 points
"Misano is a great circuit and one I really enjoy riding. My favourite part of the track is the fast section near the end of the lap, it's just so much fun to ride. My confidence has been building lately and I am really enjoying my riding and how the R1 is performing. I can't wait to get back on track and start working with my guys to keep our momentum going and challenge for the podium."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
"I am really happy to get the chance to race again in WorldSBK with the Pata Yamaha team! We did a private test in Mugello last week and my feeling was a lot better with the WorldSBK-spec R1 than it was at Donington, where we had some issues. It is my home round, so I am really looking forward to riding in front of the Italian fans and to continue the development of the Yamaha R1. I feel very proud about that because now we can really see the results of the hard work we have been putting in with Michael and Alex winning races and consistently on the podium. This means that we are working in the right direction and it is a big advantage to be able to continue this development in a race. My team is ready and I am cannot wait to get back on track!"