The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark cannot wait to get back on track at Laguna Seca this weekend for round eight of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship after an impressive showing in Misano. Both riders displayed improved pace at the last round in Italy, highlighting the continued progress the team have made throughout the season. Lowes is looking to build on his second podium of the season at a track he clearly enjoys riding. His teammate van der Mark hopes to go one better than his fourth-place finish in race two at Misano, after he was cruelly denied the chance to fight for victory in race one because of a tyre failure.
Lowes crossed the line in second position in race one at Misano to record his best result for the Pata Yamaha Team and continue the excellent progress he has made throughout 2017. The 26-year-old British rider has two podiums to his name in the last four races and has established himself as a regular rostrum challenger. Last year at Laguna he finished fifth and 14th (after a last-corner incident) in the two races, but knows this year he can be a lot more competitive at a circuit he really enjoys. Lowes is currently fifth in the championship standings with 141 points after seven rounds, 22 points behind Marco Melandri in fourth.
Van der Mark wants to continue the momentum he has been developing throughout 2017 that has seen him record two fourth place finishes in the last three races. The 24-year-old Dutch rider showed just how far he and his team had progressed by leading for the majority of race one at Misano, before a tyre failure saw him crash out with just a few laps to go, denying him the chance of his first victory fight for the team. Thanks to the pace displayed in Misano, he now heads to Laguna Seca feeling confident in his R1 and his ability to fight for a top finish once more. Van der Mark occupies sixth in the championship standings with 115 points, 26 behind his teammate Lowes.
The iconic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was originally built in 1957 and is located in Monterey County, Central California. It is 3.610km long, has 11 corners, four right and seven left-handed, elevation changes of over 55m and, of course, features the iconic Corkscrew. It is only the WorldSBK class that races at Laguna Seca, with the on-track action kicking off on Friday at 9:45am local time for FP1.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 5th – 141 Points
“Laguna is a great track and it comes after a couple of good weekends and two podiums, so I really want to keep the positive run going! It’s a track that suits the R1 and one I really enjoy. I can’t wait to get started working hard with the guys from Friday, focusing on the race. It is always great to race in America and I can’t wait to get there and kick-off the second half of the season. I feel extremely motivated and I know there are improvements to come from both myself and my R1, so I look forward to getting back on track in California!”
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 6th – 115 points
“I think we can say we had a very strong weekend in Misano. Despite the problems we had, it was a really good event for us and it’s clear to see that we are making good progress with the R1. So, we are going to Laguna with a lot of confidence and with a good base setting in the bike. Laguna Seca is a completely different track compared to any other, so we are curious to see how the bike will work here. I have a good feeling with the bike, my confidence is high, and I feel we are capable of being in the top 5 again!”
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
“Following another step forward in performance in Misano, where Michael was challenging to win in Race one, and with Alex scoring another podium, the whole team is looking forward to the challenges of Laguna Seca. Alex and Michael have been in Japan testing for the Suzuka 8 Hours, so they have both had plenty of bike time and Laguna is very much a rider’s track, where setting is, of course, important as always but the rider can also make a real difference. We have two very motivated guys on the R1s as we approach this race. We understand Pirelli have reacted to the recent problems by allocating two different tyres for Laguna – whilst this might be a bit restrictive in terms of choice it shows that safety is clearly the number 1 priority. As always, we are looking forward to getting back in action on Friday morning!”