Van der Mark and Lowes Target the Podium in Magny-Cours
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team pairing of Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes head into Round 11 of the FIM World Superbike Championship at Circuit de Nevers in Magny-Cours with their sights set firmly on the podium. Van der Mark travels to France off the back of a successful weekend last time out in Portimão, where the 25-year-old added two more podium finishes to his tally with third place in Race 1 and second place in Race 2. Lowes, who endured two challenging races in Portugal, is keen to bounce back with two good results this weekend in Magny-Cours, where he finished on the podium twelve months ago.
Currently third in the championship with 284 points, van der Mark heads into the final European race weekend of the 2018 season riding a wave of confidence. With three podium finishes in as many races, the Pata Yamaha rider now lies just 20 points off second place in the standings, a gap he's determined to reduce further as he targets the podium once again this weekend in Magny-Cours.
Lowes finished in the points in both races in Portugal, but was left frustrated having been unable to find a set up on his Yamaha YZF-R1 that inspired confidence. The Pata Yamaha rider heads to France confident that he'll have no such problems this weekend and that he'll be on the pace and able to challenge for the podium once again in Magny-Cours, a circuit that suits well his fast and aggressive riding style and one at which he's enjoyed success in the past.
The Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours is located in central France, 250km south of Paris. The track was originally built back in 1960 but has been revamped a number of times, most recently in 2003. It is 4.411km long, consists of 17 corners - nine rights and eight lefts - and has a start/finish straight just 250m in length. Most of the corners are modelled on famous turns from other tracks and bear the names of the circuits that inspired them. The layout combines a mix of slow, technical hairpins and high-speed chicanes with hardly any elevation changes.
The weather, specifically the rain, has played a significant part in proceedings at the 4.4km Magny-Cours track in recent years but the weather forecast promises warm and dry conditions this weekend, with temperatures predicted to be in the high 20s on all three days.
The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team will take to the track on Friday morning at 09:45 local time for Free Practice 1, with Saturday's qualifying starting at 10:30 and Race 1 at 13:00 pm. Sunday's Race 2 is scheduled to get underway at 15.15.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 3rd - 284 Points
"After a successful weekend in Portimão, with a podium finish in both races, I'm keen to get back on track this weekend in Magny-Cours. With the improvements we've made to the Yamaha YZF-R1 since the test in Portimão back in August, I believe we can be up there and fighting for the podium again in France. Of course, it's not just the podium that's the target, I hope that we will also be able to fight for the win, because Donington Park seems such a long time ago now. Everyone in the team is extremely motivated and I'm confident we can finish the last European race weekend of the season with two strong results."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 6th - 204 Points
"After what was a pretty tough weekend in Portimão I'm looking forward to getting back on track this weekend in Magny-Cours, a track at which I've ridden well and finished on the podium in the past. It's a technical track with lots of changes of direction, but my favourite part is the fast first sector. The approach this weekend will be a bit different; I want to enjoy the racing but my target is to fight once again for a podium finish in both races."