BAD LUCK FOR PATA YAMAHA PAIR IN QATAR RACE 1
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team suffered from a double dose of misfortune under the floodlights in Qatar on Friday, as both riders crashed out of Race 1 after having shown real promise throughout the weekend.
Michael van der Mark had impressed throughout the weekend as the Pata Yamaha Team showed great pace in the desert, ending Thursday’s practice in fifth overall at the Losail International Circuit. The 25-year-old Dutch rider then made a step in FP3, showing a very strong race pace but in SP2, despite feeling confident on the race tyre once more, he could not quite make the qualifying tyre work for him and finished the session in seventh. Starting the race from the head of the third row, van der Mark made another got off the line well but got stuck on the outside at Turn 1 and found himself down in tenth place. Immediately he started to pass the riders in front of him, re-taking seventh by the end of the first lap.
He bided his time and waited for things to improve and in his usual style, he started to up the pace as the race went on. On lap 7, as van der Mark was closing down the riders in front of him, he just misjudged the pace of a struggling Tom Sykes as he lined up an overtake, clipping the back of his Kawasaki in Turn 9 and crashing out of the race. Luckily, Sykes was not affected and van der Mark was uninjured, although it sadly brought an end to his run of 11 consecutive point-scoring finishes. The 2014 Supersport World Champion will line up for Saturday’s Race 2 in 12th on the grid and remains sixth in the championship standings with 210 points, 16 behind his teammate with 25 points up for grabs in the final race of the season on Saturday.
Michael van der Mark: “We made quite a big step today compared to Thursday and I was feeling pretty good in FP3. In SP2 I had a really good pace with the race tyre, but I couldn’t quite get the qualifying tyre to work for me but I knew I had a good pace for the race. I had a pretty good start but just got hung out to dry a bit at Turn 1, although I made up the places I had lost almost immediately. To be honest, at the beginning I was struggling with the pace a bit, I just didn’t have the speed to follow the guys in front but as the race went on, I was getting faster and faster and building my confidence with the bike. Unfortunately, through Turn 9 I was aiming to pass Tom Sykes into Turn 10 but we had completely different mid-corner speeds and I hit him quite hard – luckily, he didn’t crash. It is a real shame as I think we could have been in the top five, if not battling for the podium. I am really sorry and I hope to finish the race tomorrow inside the top five. It will be tricky from 12th on the grid but I will do my best to fight hard tomorrow.”