The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team concluded a successful two-day test on Monday in Portimao, completing 334 laps in total and continuing their excellent build up to the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship. Alex Lowes enjoyed a very positive test, having completed 170 laps the 27-year-old ended Monday in third overall after setting a 1:41.633 and showing excellent consistency over both days. His teammate Michael van der Mark was amongst the front-runners throughout the whole of the test in Portugal, with the 25-year-old Dutch rider finishing in fourth overall on the timesheets on Monday after setting a 1:42.028 and completing 164 laps.
The Pata Yamaha team had already completed a positive two-day test at Jerez last week and managed to keep their superb momentum for the 2018 season going in Portimao after getting through a huge workload over the two days. Lowes left Portimao happy with the work done and feeling confident that he can battle at the front once more after a 2017 season that saw him record four podiums and finish fifth overall in the championship standings. The 27-year-old British rider had a raft of new updates to test over the two days in Portimao and managed to complete a number of long runs to collect some essential data for the team. The 2013 British Superbike Champion completed an impressive 170 laps in total over the two days and finished in third overall with a best time of 1:41.633, just 0.148s off the top, meaning he heads to Phillip Island full of optimism.
His teammate van der Mark was in sensational form at the scene of his first Yamaha podium in 2017, ending Sunday in third with a 1:42.218, before improving on Monday to a 1:42.028, which was good enough for him to finish in fourth overall on the timesheets, 0.543s behind the fastest rider. Impressively, he actually set his fastest time on a race tyre, as he focused on his race pace and rhythm while working to assess a number of new updates for the 2018 season on his Pata Yamaha R1. The 2014 WorldSSP Champion managed to put in a huge effort over the two days in Portimao, completing 164 laps in total to ensure he is in the best position possible as he heads into his second season with the team after a promising 2017 season that saw him on the podium twice.
Up next for the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team is the official test in Phillip Island on the 18th-20th February, ahead of the opening round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship at the same venue from the 22nd-24th February.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 3rd – 1:41.633
“It’s been a great two days of testing here in Portimao. Honestly, it’s been really good for me because this track last year from the whole calendar was probably my worst track, along with Laguna Seca, as I struggled during the races to find my rhythm and a good pace. We have had a really strong test because we have managed to find solutions to all the issues I had here at the race, which means I have a lot of optimism heading to Phillip Island! I’ve tried to not push too hard and ‘keep my powder dry’, as they say, before the first race and I am ready to go! It really has been a good few days of testing, we have had some negative things as well, which is always good to get them out the way now instead of during the season and today we finished with a positive performance. I am looking forward to going to Australia!”
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 4th – 1:42.028
“We have finished two days of really positive testing here in Portimao! The first day was really good and on the second day we improved even more, so I am really happy with how everything went. We had some important things to test, we tried some different settings and we found some really good solutions for a number of setups, plus we were really fast and consistent as well. I am really happy with my race rhythm, I did my fastest time on race tyres so, I am really pleased with that and even with used tyres, we were a lot faster than we have been here before. I am really happy! I am feeling good with the bike and I cannot wait to get back on my R1 in Phillip Island!”
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
“It’s been a positive test here in Portimao, more so than in Jerez, we found a slightly better rhythm and better settings for the 2018 spec Pata Yamaha YZF-R1. The end result in terms of ultimate lap time is not so important, there are no points on offer for a test, but both riders were right up there in the top positions and pretty close to last year’s champion Jonathan Rea, which is very encouraging indeed. The bike’s been working well, between the two riders they did well over 300 laps over the two days and neither rider wasted a single lap on the track. You often see riders go and do a fast lap, then take it easy for a lap to let the tyre cool down and then try again for a quick time, but our guys aimed at trying to be consistent to set the bikes up for the season in the best way possible. We are done now with our testing in Europe, it is getting to that point of the year where everyone is excited about getting to the warm weather in Australia and starting to race. We head there as a team feeling positive!”