The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team will be pushing hard to secure more podiums in Jerez this weekend at the penultimate round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship after recording their first ever double rostrum in Race 2 at the last round in Magny-Cours. Alex Lowes is currently fifth in the championship standings with 200 points after scoring his third podium of the season in France and the British rider is looking to end an already positive year on a high note. His teammate Michael van der Mark is in sixth, just 11 points behind Lowes with 189 points, as the Dutch rider aims to continue the run of form that has seen him on the podium twice in the last three races.
Lowes loves the Jerez circuit and is looking forward to getting back on his Pata Yamaha R1 after a recent private two-day test in Portimao and having had more time to recover from the injuries he sustained in his Race 2 highside in Portugal. Last year at Jerez, Lowes qualified in fourth but recorded a DNF in Race 1, before recovering to finish Race 2 in seventh. The 27-year-old is determined to return to the podium in Spain having secured his third rostrum of the season last time out in Magny-Cours, as the 2013 British Superbike Champion looks to continue his already impressive season.
His teammate Van der Mark is on an incredible run at the moment. The 24-year-old has really got to grips with his Pata Yamaha R1 during the recent rounds, with two podiums in the last three races to show for his efforts. He is also on a run of nine consecutive points-scoring finishes, highlighting the consistency the Dutch rider has as well as his outright pace. The 2014 Supersport World Champion has a superb record at Jerez, winning the WorldSSP race on his way to the title in 2014, finishing third in 2015 in his rookie WorldSBK season and recording a double top-six finish last year at the track. Van der Mark is feeling confident with the work done at the recent test and cannot wait to return to action in Spain for the penultimate round of the season.
The iconic 4.423km Circuito de Jerez is located 90km south of Seville in the sherry-producing Andalucía region in Spain. Opened back in 1985 it hosted its first WorldSBK race in 1990, becoming a permanent fixture on the calendar from 2013. The track consists of 13 corners, 8 right and 5 left-handed, plus a start/finish straight of just 600m and contains a mix of fast, sweeping corners and slow technical hairpins, with constant elevation changes. The track is incredibly popular with the Spanish fans, who always manage to create a positive atmosphere at the circuit and also in the nearby city of Jerez de la Frontera.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team hit the track for Free Practice 1 at 9:45 am local time on Friday morning, with Saturday’s qualifying scheduled to start at 10:30 am, while both Race 1 on Saturday and Sunday’s Race 2 due to start at 13:00 pm.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 5th – 200 Points
“Jerez is a track I really enjoy. We had a very productive test in Portimao and I’m feeling great with the R1. We have made really good progress with the bike throughout the year and it shows in our results. The test was another step forward and we found some really positive improvements that allowed me to ride with a lot more confidence. It was great to be on the podium with Michael at Magny-Cours and it was just reward for all the effort the team has put in, so I am looking to continue this momentum and finish the season as strong as possible plus, of course, I will be trying to get back on that podium!”
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 6th – 189 points
“After doing a lot of testing this winter in Jerez and the progress we have made with the bike during this season, I cannot wait to see how we will go there. It is a track I have a good record at and at the moment, we are in a very strong position after great results in the last three races and a really productive test in Portimao. My mission will be to fight as close to the front as possible again and, of course, the podium would be even better!”