PATA YAMAHA BATTLE FOR THE PODIUM IN RACE 2 THRILLER AT PHILLIP ISLAND
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team put in an encouraging performance on Sunday at Phillip Island, the opening round of the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship, with both riders on podium pace in an enthralling Race 2. Michael van der Mark was in the podium hunt during the first part of the race but suffered from a drop in grip levels after his pit stop, battling hard to finish just half a second behind his teammate in seventh.
After a number of riders suffered from tyre degradation issues in Race 1, Sunday’s Race 2 was changed to a flag-to-flag format, with riders allowed to do a maximum of 12 laps on one rear tyre before they would have to make a mandatory pit stop. Van der Mark fought bravely to bring his Pata Yamaha R1 home in ninth place during Race 1 after suffering from severe rear tyre problems, which meant the 25-year-old Dutch rider would start Sunday’s Race 2 from sixth on the grid.
After a lightning start, he went on a stunning charge, passing rider after rider on his way up to third by lap 3. Battling for the podium, he came in to make his mandatory pit stop from fourth place on lap 10, one lap before his teammate Lowes. After a perfect wheel change, unfortunately he didn’t quite have the same feeling with the tyres and, try as he might, he could not match his earlier rhythm. Determined to collect as many championship points as possible, he fought valiantly to bring his Pata Yamaha R1 home in seventh. Securing nine points in Race 2, van der Mark now occupies eighth in the championship standings with 16 points heading into Round 2.
After an encouraging opening race weekend of the season, the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team now move onto Round 2 of the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship at the Chang International circuit in Thailand on the 23rd-25th March.
Michael van der Mark: “It was a really interesting race! I had quite a good start and, to be honest, I really enjoyed the first ten laps. It was a massive battle for the podium and was a really good race. We made a perfect pit stop, but I just didn’t have the same feeling or grip levels afterwards and I could not keep up with the leaders. It is a big shame as I felt really strong and was matching the guy’s in front lap times before the pit stop. I felt I could have battled for the podium, but anyway, it is important to take some points. It has been a really strange weekend with all the tyre issues, so I am looking forward to Thailand and hopefully there we can show our full potential.”