PATA YAMAHA BATTLE HARD FOR THE PODIUM IN JEREZ RACE 1
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team highlighted their recent progress, following on from their double rostrum in Magny-Cours, as both riders were once again in the podium mix during a restarted Race 1 on Saturday at Jerez, the penultimate round of the FIM 2017 Superbike World Championship. Michael van der Mark crossed the line just behind teammate Alex Lowes in fifth after another determined ride to further cement the Pata Yamaha Team as genuine podium contenders.
Van der Mark was third overall on the combined timesheets after Friday’s practice and went on to qualify in fifth on Saturday. When the lights went out during the original race he got a great start, moving up to third and was battling at the front before the red flag came out. In the restarted race, he again got a good start and immediately was involved in a battle with his teammate Lowes for third. Unfortunately, he did not quite have the same front-end feeling with his Pata Yamaha R1 as he enjoyed in practice and found himself running wide at a number of corners.
Undeterred, he fought hard to stay with the leading group of six once he was passed by his teammate. Managing to match their pace, he fought valiantly as he and Lowes chased down the leaders but in the last few laps maturely decided to bring his Pata Yamaha R1 home in an excellent fifth place. This result means the 2014 Supersport World Champion is now fifth in the championship standings with 200 points, 13 behind his teammate. Van der Mark will line up just behind his Lowes in the middle of the front row to make it a Yamaha 1-2 for Sunday’s Race 2 in Jerez.
Michael van der Mark: “I had a good start in the original race until I ran wide after Tom Sykes made contact with me at Turn 2, but then we had the red flag. I then had another good start but found the first few corners were a bit difficult as I tried to work my way to the front. To be honest, I struggled with the front-end feeling, I kept losing the front grip, so I struggled a lot to stay with Alex and the other guys. It was a really difficult and long race because I didn’t feel as good as I did during practice, so we have to find a solution for this. Anyway, we scored some good points and tomorrow we start from the front row. Hopefully, I can get another good start and a better feeling with the front.”
Free practice 3