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  |   News Racing

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team got off to their best start of the year in Qatar on day one of the final round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship in the sweltering heat and humidity under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit. Michael van der Mark had a great begin to the final race weekend of the season, ending Thursday in fifth overall to cap a superb opening day for the team with both riders, once again, making it directly through to SP2.

Fresh from an excellent MotoGP debut in Sepang with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team the weekend before, Van der Mark approached Thursday at the Losail International Circuit in his usual fashion, building his pace with the Yamaha R1 throughout the day. Despite a lack of grip in FP1, there was almost nothing to separate the 25-year-old Dutch rider and his flying teammate at the end of the hour long session, with van der Mark recording a 1:58.680 to finish just 0.001s behind Lowes in fifth place.

In FP2 van der Mark focused on trying to find the right setup with his Pata Yamaha R1, working with his team in an effort to find increased rear grip. After making some tweaks, the 2014 Supersport World Champion put together a nice run of laps in the mid to high 1:58s, but still feels there is more potential to unlock with his R1 when it comes to race pace. On his final run, he managed to set a 1:58.315 which saw him finish fifth overall on the timesheets, 0.649s off the top, and he is determined to make another step forward on Friday in Qatar.

Michael van der Mark: “We have had a good first day here in Qatar and I am very happy with my Pata Yamaha R1! To be honest, we had quite a good pace but we are still struggling a little bit, so we have some changes to make for tomorrow. Anyway, it was good to see how much the bike has improved again, every track we get to it is now competitive straight away. The bike was quick here last year and it was great to see with all the changes we have made this season that it was still quick here! I am happy with how today went but, for sure, we have a lot of work to do as I have a good one-lap pace, but we need to work on our consistency. One of the issues is grip, we managed to solve most of the problems by the end, but we are still searching for the perfect setup and we will work as hard as we can tomorrow to get it right!”

Free Practice 1

Free Practice 2