The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team with Rizla went to work today to find Michael van der Mark and Toprak Razgatlıoğlu the confidence needed to fight in wet conditions at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.
In conditions almost better suited to Yamaha’s WaveRunner rather than an R1 superbike, both Free Practice sessions at the penultimate round of the FIM Superbike World Championship were held in fully wet conditions, as rain lashed down on the central French region. Van der Mark and Razgatlıoğlu ended the day 10th and 12th overall having completed 33 and 34 laps respectively.
In the wet, rider confidence is the priority so the main goal of the Pata Yamaha team today was to ensure both riders find the right feeling to push hard during the weekend’s three likely wet races. It was also the first time back on his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK machine for Razgatlıoğlu after his heavy high-side crash during Warm-Up in Barcelona less than two weeks ago.
Tyre and suspension settings were high on the priority list, to ensure as much grip as possible can be generated by Pirelli’s grooved tread onto the slippery tarmac. Working towards better combinations for each rider’s style will help them to push harder tomorrow.
‘Storm Alex’ is forecast to bring more rain tomorrow, but there is a chance that the final Free Practice at 09:30 (GMT+2) and Tissot Superpole at 11:00 could be dry. However, it is expected that Race 1 at Magny-Cours will be a fully wet affair starting at 14:00.
Michael van der Mark: P10 – 1’50.467
“The first day here in Magny-Cours and it was properly wet! Things felt alright this morning, I was OK with the bike and felt that we could improve in the rain. In the afternoon – at the beginning of the session – the conditions were better, I was feeling good and the speed was ok, but as soon as the track started to get a bit drier, we couldn’t make a step forward. I struggled a lot on corner entry so I’m a bit disappointed with the end of the session, couldn’t improve as much as I wanted but I don’t think we’re really far off. If we change a bit on my Yamaha R1 and I get my good feeling back in the rain, we’re ready to be at the front again.”
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P12 – 1’50.926
“This morning we had good pace in the rain, and it was also the first time back on the R1 after the crash in Barcelona. In the past, I have found the wet conditions difficult but it was a great start for me, the Yamaha R1 gave me better confidence than last year’s bike. This afternoon, I wasn’t able to find as much rear grip so we still have some work to do, also my physical condition is not perfect. But overall, I’m actually happy so tomorrow we will see what is possible.”
Paul Denning, Team Principal
“Unfortunately, it was a bit of a typical Magny-Cours day and it doesn’t look like it will get much better over the weekend! The most positive news from today is that Toprak is able to ride after the big crash in Barcelona and compared to his previous form in the wet he keeps improving. He seems to have more confidence and feel with the R1 and looks more competitive. For Michael, there are improvements to make in terms of understanding the feedback from the tyres in these conditions and improving corner entry confidence and outright grip. Not a stellar start today but a lot of solid work done, no mistakes from the guys and if it’s wet tomorrow, I feel both our riders can be in the game.”