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  |   News Racing

After securing a sensational double podium last time out in Magny-Cours the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team once again demonstrated their competitiveness as they enjoyed a great start to the penultimate round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship on a glorious Friday at Jerez. Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes were almost inseparable as only 0.001s split the teammates on the overall timesheets at the end of the day, with van der Mark finishing in third and Lowes fourth as both riders secured their places in SP2.

Van der Mark has a great relationship with the Jerez circuit, having secured a podium in WorldSBK last year at the track and winning the WorldSSP race at the track in 2014. It was a stunning sunny day in Southern Spain and the Dutch rider continued the rich vein of form that has seen him record two podiums in the last three races as he immediately looked competitive in FP1, setting a 1:41.102 to sit in fifth on the timesheets at the end of the session. The 24-year-old Dutch rider tried out some different tyre variations in the afternoon’s FP2 session, before reverting to the softer option rear for the final few minutes, with the 2014 WorldSSP Champion going out on fresh rubber and managing to improve to a 1:40.890 on his 22nd lap of 26, which was good enough for him to secure third on the overall timesheets, just +0.599s off the pace of the leading rider.

Michael van der Mark: β€œI am really happy with P3 today! This morning we started off with our base setting and improved and improved, although it was quite difficult because the track was dirty. We didn’t change anything before FP2, as we wanted to see the condition of the track, so I went out this afternoon and did some okay lap times. We then tried the harder tyres but they didn’t feel very good so we went back to the softer option and changed some setting with the front of the bike which meant I was fast again and during the last few laps I improved my time. I am really happy with the bike as we didn’t change it at all and we were fast and very consistent, so I am happy.”

β€œIt has been a long time since we have had weather like this, so we are enjoying it but it could make it difficult for the tyres to last race distance. It will be interesting tomorrow, I think we have a good pace and we found a good setup to work with the tyres. We won’t make many changes, maybe some small ones, but I have felt good since we first arrived so I don’t want to change too much, we will just look at trying to improve our consistency. The new tarmac is amazing, it was just unlucky the rain during the last couple of days made it dirty, but it is so smooth and they have taken out all of the bumps. They did an amazing job which shows in the lap times because everyone is really fast!”

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