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  |   News Racing

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team and Michael van der Mark kicked off Round 8 of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship on Friday at Laguna Seca. Full of confidence following on from his double victory in Donington and his podium in Race 2 at Brno, the Dutchman made a solid start, ending Friday in 11th overall and he will battle it out in SP1.

Near perfect conditions greeted the Pata Yamaha team on Friday at Laguna Seca with the California sun sending track temperatures rising to 43°C as they looked to continue the form that has seen them win three of the last four WorldSBK races, despite the Laguna track traditionally not having been the happiest hunting ground for the R1 in the past.

Michael van der Mark arrived in the USA on the back of an incredible run of results that has seen him record two victories, a second-place, and a fourth-place finish in the last four races. Building his rhythm in the usual methodical manner in the morning session, the 25-year-old Dutch rider ended FP1 in seventh with a 1:24.106. Focusing on race pace in FP2, he showed good consistency although he did not improve his time from the morning, ending the session in tenth overall. In FP3, he tried a variety of different setups but couldn’t quite find the perfect feeling with his Pata Yamaha R1, ending the day in 11th on the combined timesheets with his time set during FP1. Disappointed at missing out on automatic qualification to Saturday’s SP2, Van der Mark is determined to make use of the extra track time he will get during SP1 to allow him to make a step before Race 1.

Michael van der Mark: “We struggled a bit today. This morning did not feel too bad, we had a small problem with the stability of the bike and also tried out some different gearing solutions. For FP2, we made some changes and although I didn’t improve my pace, I still managed to do quite a good long run. The feeling wasn’t really what I need, so for FP3 we changed a lot again, but we didn’t find a solution. We have lots of data to study overnight so hopefully, we can find something that will allow us to make a step tomorrow.”

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team return to action on Saturday at 9:00 am local time (GMT-7) for FP4, with qualifying starting at 11:00 and the 25-lap Race 1 at 2:00 pm.