It was van der Mark who made the early running in this morning’s opening free practice, which was run in sweltering conditions at the 4.554km Chang International Circuit. The Dutchman was immediately on the pace and continued to improve his lap time throughout the session to end third on the timesheet, one place and one tenth ahead of Melandri. Lowes and Cortese enjoyed a steadier start in the first session, finishing sixth and seventh respectively.
In the second and final free practice of the day, with the track temperature peaking at an incredible 56 degrees Centigrade, it was Lowes who initially led the Yamaha charge in third place on the timesheet. However, a fast lap of 1’33. 465 from Cortese right at the end of the session saw the WorldSBK rookie jump up the order to third, pushing Lowes back to fourth.
Van der Mark continued to refine the set-up of his Yamaha YZF-R1 during FP2 this afternoon and was rewarded with an improvement in his lap time compared to FP1. A time of 1’33.562 was enough to see him finish the day fifth, one place ahead of Melandri, who secured sixth place on the timesheet with a time of ‘1.33.624.
The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK and GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK riders will return to action in FP3 at 11.00 local time tomorrow, before lights out for Race 1 at 16.00 local time.