Lowes Seeking Home Race Success as Van Der Mark Targets Racing Return at Donington Park
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider, Alex Lowes, heads into his home race at Donington Park this weekend determined to repeat the potential that saw him challenge for the win last time out in Misano. Michael van der Mark, a double winner at Donington Park 12 months ago, hopes to return to action in Round 8 of the FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend, just two weeks after fracturing his wrist in a free practice crash in Italy.
While Lowes has been a regular podium finisher in 2019, a race win has so far eluded the 28-year-old Briton. The Pata Yamaha rider heads to Donington Park with his sights set firmly on the podium once again but, with the added motivation that racing in front of your home crowd brings, hopeful of stepping onto the top step for the first time this season.
Van der Mark heads to the United Kingdom determined to race at Donington Park this weekend. The Pata Yamaha rider has completed an intensive rehabilitation program since undergoing successful surgery to stabilise the wrist injury sustained in his Misano crash, the cause of which is still being investigated. Van der Mark will have to undergo a mandatory medical examination on Thursday but hopes to be sufficiently recovered from the injury to be passed fit to race.
Should van der Mark be unable to race at Donington Park then his place in the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK team will be taken by McAMS Yamaha British Superbike rider, Tarran Mackenzie. A former British Supersport Champion with prior World Championship experience in the Moto2 class, Mackenzie took his debut British Superbike win on his R1 in the opening round of the 2019 season in Silverstone.
For the two GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK riders, Marco Melandri and Sandro Cortese, the goal for the Donington weekend is to build on what was a successful outing last time out in Misano. Melandri returned to the podium for the first time since the opening round in Australia, with third place in Race 1 in Italy, while Cortese was also battling for the podium in both the sprint race and Race 2, before crashes brought his challenges to an end.
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Loris Baz, heads to Donington determined to further close the gap on the top five in all three races. The Frenchman, who only returned to the WorldSBK Championship in Jerez, mastered tricky wet conditions to finish fourth in Race 1 in Misano, but is still searching for a set-up that would allow him to challenge at the front in the dry.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK
"I'm excited about racing in front of my home fans at Donington Park this weekend. I only get one chance to do this in a season and I'm really looking forward to it. The Donington Park track is so much fun to ride, especially the section that takes in Craner Curves and the Old Hairpin, which is easily my favourite part of the circuit. While most of the track is fast and flowing, the last sector is more stop start but always brings close racing. The target has to be to win in front of my home crowd, especially after coming so close last time out in Misano."
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK
"I knew as soon as I'd had the surgery on the wrist that a return to racing at Donington Park was a possibility, so that's what I've been working towards since. I haven't lost any strength in the wrist, which was my main concern. The movement is still slightly restricted, but I've been having physiotherapy since Misano to improve this. It has hardly impacted on my training and I've been able to train with the same intensity as I did before the injury, so I hope to be passed fit to ride this weekend. It's good to have Tarran there on standby, as the medical assessment and actually racing the bike are two very different things. I will only really know if I'm fit to race, rather than just fit to ride, after FP1 on Friday."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
"I'm looking forward to Donington Park, after what was for me a good weekend last time out in Misano. Donington is a track I like and one that suits my riding style. Judging from Michael van der Mark's double win there last season, it's also a track at which the Yamaha works very well indeed. I need to work on qualifying, to improve my position on the grid for the races, but I think we have the potential to really make a good race this weekend. The weather is looking good, which I'm happy about, and now I can't wait to get started."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
"I can't wait to get to Donington, after we made a big step forward in Misano, where I was able to fight for the podium but wasn't quite able to bring it home. The goal for this weekend in Donington is to work on the same level, fight again with the top guys to show that Misano wasn't an anomaly and finish the three races in the top six."
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
"We made some steps in the dry in Misano, finding a good setting with the front, but we are still missing something at the rear so it's good we have two back-to-back races, starting in Donington this weekend. I feel really confident going into the weekend; it takes a bit of time to find the right set-up for me, because I am a bit taller and heavier than the other Yamaha riders, but we have some ideas for improvement. I really like the Donington track and I've finished on the podium there previously, so the goal this weekend is to close the gap to the top five again. I'm looking forward to the weekend ahead."