A difficult Superpole session for both Pata Yamaha riders yesterday, in which Lowes qualified eighth and van der Mark 16th, had a marked impact on today's two races. In the Sprint Race both riders were working their way steadily through the field only for the race to be stopped with three laps remaining, with Lowes running sixth and van der Mark eighth, when oil was dropped at the Melbourne Hairpin.
Both Pata Yamaha riders got a good start in Race 2, but as Lowes worked his way towards the front of the pack in the opening laps, van der Mark came under immediate pressure as he struggled for rear grip. At half race distance the Dutch rider had passed Ducati's Chaz Davies for eighth position, which he held to the chequered flag.
The second half of the race was much busier for Lowes. Having got the better of Baz to move up to fifth, the Pata Yamaha rider tried on two occasions to pass Haslam for fourth at the Melbourne Hairpin, only for his fellow countryman to close the door both times. Lowes eventually made the pass stick on the penultimate lap, with Bautista now more than a second ahead in third. A spirited chase on the final lap saw Lowes close the gap to less than half a second, but he wasn't quite close enough to challenge for the final podium place in the final corner and had to settle for fourth at the line.
Donington proved a difficult weekend for the GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK riders, Marco Melandri and Sandro Cortese, but for different reasons. Melandri and his crew struggled all weekend to find a set-up that the Italian was comfortable, an issue that was exacerbated by the lack of dry track time on Saturday. Despite the issues, Melandri raced his way to tenth place in both of today's races but was disappointed not to have secured better results at a track he rates as one of his strongest.
Cortese was unfortunate to crash heavily at the Melbourne Hairpin this morning, on the dropped oil that caused the Sprint Race to be red flagged. While Cortese was lucky to walk away uninjured, the crash caused major damage to his R1 and the GRT Yamaha mechanics did well to get it rebuilt ahead of Race 2, in which the reigning Supersport World Champion picked up points with a 13th place finish.
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Loris Baz, finished fifth and sixth in today's two races, which saw his points tally for the weekend increase to 28, the same number of points scored by Pata Yamaha's Alex Lowes. The Frenchman's performance, in only his third race weekend aboard the R1, underlines the competitiveness of the Yamaha package.