PRODUCTIVE PORTIMAO TEST VOOR VAN DER MARK
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team rider Michael van der Mark returned to WorldSBK action this week after the long summer break, with a productive two-day test at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão.
A high-speed rollercoaster of a track, the 4.6km Portimão circuit combines a technical mix of fast and slow corners with huge changes in elevation, making it one of the most demanding tracks on the WorldSBK calendar and ideal for testing.
Although Van der Mark was part of the team that secured Yamaha their third successive victory at the prestigious 8 Hours of Suzuka race back in July, neither had turned a wheel on track since.
The first runs for Van der Mark on the opening day in Portimão were therefore dedicated to reacquainting himselves with his WorldSBK specification Yamaha YZF-R1 race bikes, which they hadn’t ridden since the Misano race more than six weeks ago.
Van der Mark was quickly back up to speed and his focus then turned to testing proper, with completing an extensive test program over the course of the two days. The main focus was on refining set up and evaluating suspension and geometry changes that would be too time consuming to test during a race weekend.
Van der Mark also evaluated upgraded suspension components from Öhlins and new chassis parts from Yamaha as part of the on-going development program for 2019, with positive results. Engineers from Yamaha were also on hand during the two-day test, assisting the team with the development of new electronic strategies.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 1:42.182: “It’s been a long summer break so the first priority was to get back up to speed and get reacquainted with the WorldSBK spec YZF-R1, so we started by confirming the set ups from the last race and the test here in the winter before making any changes to the bike. After that we tried quite a few small things, mainly with the suspension, that we don’t have time to test during a race weekend. When you test so many different options there are always positives and negatives, but the most important thing is to collect the data that can then be analysed by the engineers as part of the development process, both for the coming races and for the future. It’s always good to be back on the bike and after such a positive test here in Portimão I’m now looking forward to finishing the season as strongly as possible.”
Portimão is the venue for the next round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship, so the two-day test also provided Lowes and van der Mark with the ideal opportunity to fine tune the set up of their Yamaha YZF-R1 machines in conditions very similar to those they’ll experience when they return for the race in three weeks’ time.
Full results: WorldSBK_2018_POR_Official_Test