The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team are excited to get back into action after the summer break for round 9 of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship at the Lausitzring this weekend. Alex Lowes recently extended his contract with the team until 2018 and after completing a hat-trick of wins with his teammate Michael van der Mark with the Yamaha Factory Racing Team at the Suzuka 8 Hours in July, both riders are feeling confident of hitting the ground running following on from a successful recent two-day private test at Almeria.
Lowes extended his contract with Yamaha last week, meaning he will line up alongside Van der Mark once more in 2018 to give the team some added consistency as they continue to develop the Yamaha R1 and to close the gap to their rivals. The two Pata Yamaha riders are fresh from their historic victory with the Yamaha Factory Racing Team at the Suzuka 8 Hours where, not only did they completely dominate the race, but Lowes also set a new lap record by over a second. Both riders came back from Japan brimming with confidence and hoping to bring any tips they may have picked up from the Suzuka-spec R1 to the WorldSBK paddock, plus they were further buoyed by a positive private test with the team at Almeria last week where they tried out a number of upgrades.
It was Lowes’ second consecutive victory at Suzuka and adds to the British rider’s positive start to the 2017 WorldSBK season, which has seen him record two podiums in the last six races to currently sit fifth in the championship standings with 148 points. Lowes had a challenging weekend last time out at Laguna Seca for round 8 of the season but recovered to finish Race 2 in a solid ninth place. The 26-year-old is looking to make a step forward after the summer break and establish himself as a regular contender for the race win, plus having worked hard with the team during the recent Almeria test, is excited to get back on his R1 in Germany.
Van der Mark is also raring to go after a positive conclusion to the recent test and his success at Suzuka, which was the third time he has stood on the top-step of the podium at the legendary endurance race. The 24-year-old Dutch rider has enjoyed an encouraging start to the 2017 season, having led Race 1 at Misano for 13 laps before a tyre failure and with three top four finishes to his name. After a double top-ten finish last time out at Laguna Seca he currently sits seventh in the championship standings, with 129 points after eight rounds, just 19-points behind his teammate Lowes.
The Lausitzring is located 60km north of Dresden in the Lausitz region in Eastern Germany and the 4.255km track, which was built back in 2000, is known for its technical layout. It has 14 corners in total, six right and eight left-handed, and 2017 will be the last season WorldSBK visits the circuit before it will be closed to the public at the end of 2017. The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team hit the track at 9.45am on Friday morning local time for Free Practice 1, with qualifying starting at 10:30am on Saturday. Race 1 takes place at 13:00pm on Saturday with Race 2 at 13:00pm on Sunday.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 5th – 148pts
“After a few weeks away from the World Superbike Championship I am looking forward to the Lausitzring race! I am still buzzing from winning the Suzuka 8 Hours and after a really positive test in Almeria, I am excited to be getting back to the racing action. I am also delighted to have extended my contract for the 2018 season with the team and hopefully, we can finish this year as strongly as possible. My goals are for a solid weekend to give us something to build on for the rest of 2017 as we try to close the gap to the guys at the front. It’s a bit of a peculiar track at Lausitzring, it is quite bumpy and also has quite a technical layout. The whole team have been working really hard and haven’t really had a summer break, so a big thanks to them too and I cannot wait to get back on track!”
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 7th – 129pts
“I simply cannot wait to get back on track at the Lausitzring! It has been a busy summer break for us, but winning at Suzuka with Yamaha was incredible, plus we had a very positive test in Almeria last week, so I am excited to get back into action in Germany. I am also happy that my teammate has extended his contract for next season, which means we have another year of racing together! The Lausitzring is a different type of circuit and it presents a unique challenge, so it will be interesting to see how the R1 performs at the track, and after all the hard work the team have put in over the summer break I am excited to get back on the bike. We tested some new updates in Almeria and we hope that they will allow us to take the fight to our rivals for the rest of the season!”