Van der Mark was quick to find a set-up on his R1 to suit the demands of the 4.936 km Imola track this morning in FP1, which he finished with the sixth best lap time.
The Pata Yamaha rider and his crew continued to refine the set-up of his R1 throughout this afternoon’s second free practice session, with improvements allowing van der Mark to better his previous best lap time to again finish sixth. The 26-year-old was happy with the progress made on the first day in Imola, a track that has proved unkind to van der Mark in the past, as he looks to continue his good form following a double podium in Assen.
A stomach bug picked up earlier in the week took its toll on Lowes today, with the 28-year-old Briton forced to limit the number of laps during both free practice sessions due to his physical condition. Despite feeling sick on the bike and weakness due to dehydration, the Pata Yamaha rider managed to work with his crew to find a good feeling with his R1 around the technically demanding Imola circuit, ending the day just three tenths behind his teammate.
Lowes will now focus on his recovery, as he looks to return at full strength for qualifying and the first race tomorrow. Melandri continued to struggle with the set-up issues that have plagued him during the last three rounds here in Imola today. The problems meant the veteran Italian lacked the confidence needed for a fast lap time and he was disappointed to end the day 12th in front of his home crowd. Melandri remains adamant, however, that he and his crew will find a solution to the issues, allowing him to rediscover the form that saw him finish the opening race of the season on the podium.
Cortese fell foul of one of Imola’s less endearing characteristics today, after crashing during the early stages of FP2 this afternoon. With no service road surrounding the 4.936km track there is no way to return a fallen bike and rider to the paddock, leaving any rider unfortunate enough to crash sitting on the side-lines until the end of the session. Despite the premature end to his opening day in Imola, Cortese remains upbeat and is looking forward to Race 1 tomorrow.
Qualifying, which for 2019 is a single 25-minute Superpole session, will take place 11.00 tomorrow, with lights out for Race 1 at 14.00.