Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Alex Lowes produced another blistering display to charge through the field and secure a fifth-place finish in Race 2 at the Lausitzring for round nine of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. His teammate Michael van der Mark struggled early on during the race with the feeling on his R1 but recovered well to cross the line in 11th.
After his sixth-place finish in Race 1, Lowes lined up on the front row for Sunday’s Race 2 in third but endured a tricky start that saw him drop down to 8th by the first corner. The 26-year-old British rider didn’t panic and showed excellent maturity during the early laps of the race, as he worked on improving his understanding of his Pata Yamaha R1 at this tricky circuit. He then settled into an excellent rhythm and started charging his way through the pack, enjoying an excellent battle with Eugene Laverty before the Irish rider crashed out of the race on lap 9. By lap 16, Lowes had fought his way up to sixth and caught the group of riders battling for fourth place. Despite drops of rain appearing in sector 4 during the last few laps, Lowes carried on pushing as hard as he could and closed the gap to Leon Camier in fifth. Lowes kept on pushing and in the last corner, in a dramatic finish, he made an excellent move on Camier to secure fifth and collect 11 championship points.
His teammate van der Mark started from 12th on the grid but the 24-year-old Dutch rider did not have the best of starts and found himself in 14th place after the first few corners. Struggling to turn his R1 while on the throttle meant that it was hard for van der Mark to pass the riders ahead of him and he lost precious time, but undeterred, he remained focused and step by step started to make progress. On lap 11 he had made his way up to 11th, but by this time there was a large gap to the rider in tenth and he faced a tough task to close him down. Digging deep, van der Mark managed to up his pace in the latter stages of the race while his competitors were slowing down. He put in a gargantuan effort to close down Xavi Forés in tenth, his pace half a second quicker than the riders in front of him during the last few laps, but try as he might it was a bridge too far and he crossed the line for a hard-fought 11th place, collecting 5 championship points in the process.
This result sees Lowes remain fifth in the championship standings with 169 points, whilst his teammate van der Mark occupies seventh with 135 points. The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team return to action at round ten of the 2017 FIM World Superbike Championship in Portimao on the 15th-17th of September.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 5th +15.786s
“I am disappointed with the start of the race, I wanted to improve on my start from yesterday and make best use of the front row position but it didn’t work out! My pace was a bit better early on than Race 1, but in general it was a good race for me, I had fun on the R1 despite this track being so strange, and I really enjoyed the battles. I am happy to have secured a sixth and a fifth-place finish this weekend, but we can definitely improve on these results so I will work with the guys and see if we can make a good step forward for Portimao. Honestly, I really enjoyed how we worked this weekend, I think the guys have done a great job and I am really looking forward to Portugal!”
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 11th +24.885s
“It was a difficult race for me. In the beginning, I struggled to pass some riders and I lost quite a bit of time. I struggled with turning the bike while I was on the throttle and it was difficult to find a way to ride around this problem. To be honest, my race was quite consistent but I was not fast enough. I need to find a way to get the bike turning again because usually, this is one of the strong points of the bike. We have to work really hard and hopefully, in Portimao we can have some better results, as this weekend was not the outcome we are aiming for.”
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
“Today’s race was also a little bit complicated for the team, as the whole weekend has been, but in the end, we saw another extremely solid ride from Alex. He kept calm after a difficult start and judged his pace superbly to retake many of those positions and to pass Camier on the final lap for a well-deserved top five finish. It is clear that the lack of testing here and the character of the track was never going to make it an easy weekend for us, so the team is happy with Alex’s results and I think they will give him the confidence to take the next step forward and push hard for podiums as we enter the final part of the 2017 season. Michael also, unfortunately, had a really difficult start from the fourth row which made the race very challenging but the pleasing point – which I am sure he will reflect on despite his disappointment with the result – was that his pace improved quite significantly compared to yesterday. This was highlighted by the fact that Michael almost matched his best time on his final lap of the race, showing that he was learning how to get the best out of the Pata Yamaha R1 on this track. His potential and that of the bike is more, and I know that Portimao will suit us better.”