Yamaha Riders Target the Podium as WorldSBK Lands in Europe

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With four podium finishes in the opening two rounds of the FIM Superbike World Championship, the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK and GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK riders head to Aragon this weekend, determined to carry the momentum into the first European race of the 2019 season.

Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes heads into the Aragon weekend off the back of a confidence inspiring weekend last time out in Thailand. The 28-year-old Briton finished on the podium in all three races at the Chang International Circuit and is determined to add to his podium tally at the technically challenging 5.077km Aragon circuit this weekend.

After three fourth place finishes in Thailand, Michael van der Mark has his sights set firmly on the podium this weekend in Spain. The 26-year-old Dutch rider was twice a top five finisher last year in Aragon, but heads into the third round of the FIM Superbike World Championship confident that he has the package necessary to fight for the podium in both the two feature races and Sunday morning’s 10-lap sprint race.

Marco Melandri finished on the podium on his debut for the GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK team in Phillip Island, but was left frustrated as he struggled to overcome stability issues last time out in Thailand. The veteran Italian is confident that he will have no such problems this weekend as he targets the podium in Aragon, a track he views as the most beautiful on the WorldSBK calendar and where he finished on the podium 12 months ago.

Aragon is a track that Sandro Cortese knows very well indeed. Not only did the German finish second at the circuit on his way to winning the Moto3 World Championship in 2012, he also took his first WorldSSP win at the track last year on his way to being crowned as the 2018 Supersport World Champion. While he knows the track intimately, this weekend will be Cortese’s first in Aragon aboard the Yamaha YZF-R1 but, after a strong start to this season in Australia and Phillip Island, the GRT Yamaha rider is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

The Yamaha riders will take to the track for Free Practice 1 at 10.30 on Friday morning, with Race 1 scheduled for 14.00 on Saturday, the Superpole Sprint Race at 11.00 on Sunday, followed by Race 2 at 14.00 the same afternoon.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK

“I’m Looking forward to getting back to Europe and heading to Aragon this weekend. Normally when we arrive back to start the European phase of the championship it settles down a bit, but this year we have back-to-back races in Aragon and Assen, so it’s going to be a busy start. Aragon is a track that the majority of the riders enjoy; it’s a long lap, with quite a few changes in elevation and it’s quite technical, which means a lot of work with the guys on Friday to get the bike working really well. With the WorldSSP300 guys racing for the first time in Aragon the schedule is different compared to the two flyaway races, with less time between sessions, so we need to see how that works out. Thailand was a good weekend for us, with a podium finish in all three races, and I’m looking forward to carrying that momentum into the first European race weekend in Spain.”

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK

“After two races on the other side of the world, it’s great to be heading to Aragon to start our European campaign this weekend. We head there with a lot of confidence after the first two rounds, with our sights set firmly on the podium. Aragon is a very different circuit to Phillip Island and Buriram, quite technical, which always makes finding a good set-up on the bike quite challenging. But we know we have a good base set-up already, so I think we head into the Aragon weekend in a good position.”

Marco Melandri

GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK

“I’m happy to be back in Europe and Aragon is one of the most beautiful tracks we race at during the season. The long straight doesn’t play to our strengths, but there are a lot of technical sections, with nice corners, where I think we can be very competitive. The late race was quite a difficult one for us, but I’m excited for the weekend ahead and I’m confident that we can find a solution to the issues we experienced in Thailand. The podium is our target this weekend; it won’t be easy, but it’s a realistic target.”

Sandro Cortese

GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK

“After two solid overseas races and a good start to my first WorldSBK campaign, I’m happy to return to Europe for the Aragon race. The Aragon circuit is one I like and one I know very well from the past. It’s one of the most difficult tracks on the calendar, with many changes in elevation and a combination of fast and slow corners, so I hope it will fit well with the superbike, which I’ll ride there for the first time this weekend.”

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