The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team with Rizla duo of Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Michael van der Mark fought to second and third positions respectively in Race 1 of the third round of the FIM Superbike World Championship today.
Razgatlıoğlu made a clean start to convert his second-place qualifying directly into P2, but it turned into a somewhat lonely race for the young Turkish rider who quickly pulled a safe gap to the chasing pack but, despite adding pressure in the first five laps, was unable to catch pole-sitter Jonathan Rea.
By contrast, van der Mark provided a big dose of excitement at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. Starting from fifth on the grid at one of his favourite circuits, the 27-year-old became embroiled in a thrilling four-way battle for the remaining podium position.
If not for a missed gear-shift which forced him to run wide at Turn 14 which relegated him to sixth in the early stages of the race, Van der Mark could potentially have also challenged with his teammate at the front. Instead the Dutchman provided the bulk of the entertainment this afternoon, with a masterful “two for the price of one” overtake on Alex Lowes and Loris Baz at the start of lap nine, followed by a smooth pass on the inside of Scott Redding to ultimately take third position on lap 12.
The action does not stop here as tomorrow, following a short 15-minute warm up at 9:00 local time (GMT+1), the Pata Yamaha riders will once again aim to fight for victory and podium honours with the 10-lap Tissot Superpole Race at 11:00 followed by the second full-length, 20-lap Race 2 at 14:00.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P2
“A second position finish and I’m happy with that, but tomorrow maybe we will look for something different. I tried to go with Johnny but it was not possible after five laps because he was very fast today. But we are happy, again on the podium, P2 and very good points. I found the rear tyre sliding too much, because as I was fighting for second position I saw that Johnny had good grip. Sometimes I tried hard braking to catch him, but it’s not enough. Tomorrow we will look for a different set-up on my R1 to fight for the win, because we need good points and a good position – we will see tomorrow, but we will try to win the races.”
Michael van der Mark: P3
“I must be happy to be finally back on the podium in normal conditions! This morning felt okay, and we made a good step with the bike and in Superpole, P5 was okay for me. In the race, to be honest, I struggled a little bit already at the beginning with the front feeling. I couldn’t brake as late as others did, and then I hit neutral and ran off track. After that I tried to stay calm, but with the temperature going up the bike changed quite a lot and I didn’t have the same good feeling like I had in the morning. But step-by-step I got closer to the front again, and you know in the end it’s good to be back on the podium and it’s good to have Toprak there as well. If you look at the results, the Yamaha bikes are doing a fantastic job, we are fast but we’re not quite winning yet – we need to find some more traction and front feeling, especially when the temperature goes up. That’s the main area where we need to improve but I am sure we will find something to make a step and fight for victory.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal
“Third round of the championship and the first double podium for the Pata Yamaha Official team this year, so congratulations to both of our riders, the crew and Yamaha’s engineers for all their efforts in delivering this positive result! Honestly speaking, both riders are actually a bit disappointed with what they were able to achieve speed-wise over race distance and both want to make a step forward for tomorrow. Certainly, that will be the same for all our competitors, with the exception of maybe Jonathan who looked incredibly comfortable. For the team and for Yamaha, it’s always a positive sign if both of the riders are on the podium and both feel they need to make a further step forward still.”