Pata Yamaha WorldSBK riders, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, are set to resume their battle for a top three finish in the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship standings, as the series explodes back into action his weekend at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão, Portugal. It’s Lowes who currently holds third place in the standings with 220 points but van der Mark trails his teammate by just five points in fourth place and the Dutchman is determined to reverse the positions in the four rounds remaining this season.
The two Pata Yamaha riders head into round 10 of the FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend with their confidence high, after completing a positive test in Portimão back in August, in which Lowes posted his fastest ever lap of the Portuguese circuit on the second and final day to top the timesheet.
But while it was Lowes who departed the test as the fastest rider on track, it is teammate van der Mark who has enjoyed the most success in Portimão in recent seasons. The 26-year-old Dutch rider a podium finisher three times in two years, including a double podium at the track 12 months ago.
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Sandro Cortese, also enjoyed a positive test at the Portimão circuit, having now recovered fully from the shoulder injury sustained at Donington Park back in July. The reigning Supersport World Champion heads to Portugal determined to rediscover the form that saw him regularly challenging for top six finishes earlier in the season.
Marco Melandri heads into the Portimão weekend still searching for a set up on the bike to better suit his super smooth riding style. The GRT Yamaha team have worked tirelessly over the summer break to support Melandri’s performance and the veteran Italian, who has announced his retirement from racing at the end of the current season, is determined to reward his team’s hard work with a strong showing in Portugal this weekend.
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Loris Baz, has his sights set firmly on the podium for the last four rounds of the 2019 season, after an extremely positive two-day test for the Frenchman and his crew in Portimão. A top ten finish in the championship standings is also a realistic possibility for Baz, despite him only returning to the series at Round 6 in Jerez. The Ten Kate Yamaha rider is currently 13th in the standings, but just 24 points off tenth position, which is currently held by fellow Yamaha rider, Cortese.
Construction of the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve was completed in 2008 and the venue hosted its first WorldSBK round the same year. A high-speed rollercoaster of a track, the 4.6km circuit features a challenging layout that combines fast, sweeping turns with more technical corners and huge changes in elevation and is demanding on both riders and machines.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK
“I’m really looking forward to getting back to racing. While it’s nice to have a bit of a break in the middle of the season, you do miss racing. I’m ready now for the second part of the season, where the challenge is going to be to hold on to third place in the championship, and I need to be fighting for the podium in every race at these last four rounds if I’m to do that. We were really strong at the recent test in Portimão, where I did my fastest ever lap at this track to finish on top of the timesheet, which shows the bike is working well. The conditions were quite hot at the test and I didn’t quite have the feeling I wanted in the afternoons when the track temperature went up, but we have some ideas to improve in this area and, hopefully, we will have similar temperatures on Friday to work on this. I’m feeling really positive and I’m raring to go this weekend.”
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK
“It was a nice long summer break, which gave the wrist I fractured in Misano a chance to heal fully, but now I can’t wait to get back to racing. We head to Portimão for the race off the back of a really good two-day test at the circuit, in which I was really fast, and the aim is to rediscover the feeling I had before the crash in Misano, so that I can fight for podiums and race wins once again. I’ve enjoyed quite a bit of success in Portimão in the past, with three podium finishes in two years, and I hope we continue this trend this time around, to start the last part of the season in the strongest way possible.”
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
“After such a positive two-day test in Portimão at the end of August, I’m really looking forward to heading back to Portugal for the race this weekend. I worked hard over the summer break with my physiotherapist to rebuild the strength in my injured shoulder and it was nice to be able to ride more relaxed on the bike once again at the test. I’m feeling good, I’m happy with how the bike was working at the two-day test and now I’m ready to push for good results in the final part of the season, starting this weekend in Portimão.”
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
“It’s a bit of a rollercoaster, but Portimão is a track I like a lot, it’s one that is fun to race at and I’ve always been fast there in the past. This weekend I head to Portugal in a different situation, as I’m still looking to improve my feeling with the bike even after the two days of testing at the circuit, but we will continue trying to improve during the weekend. The team has been working so hard, even over the summer break, so I am determined to pay them back with the best result possible in Portugal this weekend.”
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
“For me the summer break was way too long, because we didn’t have so many races before that, so I’m ready to get back to racing. We enjoyed a really strong test in Portimão at the end of August, where we were able to properly test some parts in the dry for the first time, and we made some improvements to the base set up of the bike as a result. I love racing in Portimão, it’s one of my favourite tracks, and I’m really confident going into this weekend. Hopefully, with the work we did at the test, I’ll be closer to challenging for the podium.”