The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team has concluded a productive three-day test at the Circuito de Jerez, as Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark were joined by Test Rider Niccolò Canepa to begin the preparations for the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship season. The riders tested a number of new parts, working within the revised technical regulations that will affect WorldSBK next year. Between them, they completed 626 laps in three days of perfect weather and collected a huge amount of valuable data for Yamaha's engineers to analyse during the winter break.
After a year of constant improvement, there was no time for complacency for the Pata Yamaha team as they were back in action at a sun-drenched Jerez less than 3 weeks after the last round of the 2017 season in Qatar. There were a significant number of new updates for the team to assess, with all three riders working hard over the three days to make sure that they head into 2018 in the best possible way.
Alex Lowes continued the excellent form that saw him end the year fifth in the championship standings with four podiums to his name. The 27-year-old British rider completed 206 laps over the three days and smashed the previous WorldSBK lap record on Friday with a stunning 1:38.622. His teammate Michael van der Mark was one of the busiest riders over the course of the three days, as he looks to build on his two Yamaha podiums from 2017 in preparation for his second season with the team. The 25-year-old Dutch rider showed good form over the three days, completing 248 laps and setting a best time of 1:39.577. Lowes and van der Mark were joined on track by Pata Yamaha Test Rider Niccolò Canepa, the 2016/2017 FIM Endurance World Champion. The former MotoGP rider took time out from his duties with the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team and was an excellent asset, with the 29-year-old Italian completing 165 laps and recording a best time of 1:39.855.
With the final track action of 2017 now completed, the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team head into the winter break full of confidence, ready to tackle the 2018 season head on and looking forward to returning to testing action again in Jerez, on the 23rd-24th of January before the opening round of the year at Phillip Island on the 23rd-25th of February.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team 206 laps - 1:38.622
"It's been a very positive end of season test for me! I finished a bit early on the last day because we had completed our testing program and have gathered some valuable information to analyse over the winter. It was good for me personally, I made some good steps forward in my confidence with the R1. It has been a really constructive test in every sense and it was great to have Niccolò here to help out myself and Michael testing some development parts and new strategies. It was also a good start to the working relationship between myself and new Crew Chief Andrew Pitt, he fitted in really well and despite the amount of work, I think he enjoyed it too! In general, it couldn't have gone much better so I am really happy! I am looking forward to the winter break and to me and the Yamaha both coming back even stronger for the 2018 Superbike World Championship."
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team 248 laps - 1:39.577
"It has been a positive three days of testing here in Jerez. We had a lot of new things to try out and it is always good to test at the end of the year because it gives the team so much data to take away and analyse over the winter break. I am really happy with the test and, as always, it helped to have Niccolò here to evaluate some parts before we tried them. We have been working really hard to improve and it has been a great three days, the weather has been perfect, things have been going really well and I've really enjoyed it. Now everyone can get some rest after what has been a good debut season for me with the Pata Yamaha team."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Test Rider - 165 laps - 1:39.855
"I am really satisfied with these three days of testing. We had to assess a lot of new parts, some of which were really good, some that were not so good but we found a lot of great stuff for next season, so I am really happy. Alex and Michael were incredibly consistent all throughout the test, this shows how much the R1 and the guys are improving, so everything looks good for next year. I am happy to end 2017 like this, I had a good lap time and a really good feeling on the bike and with the team, so I am really satisfied with the work done and cannot wait for next season!"
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"The team had a huge amount of work to get through over these three days in Jerez and it is difficult to imagine that it could have gone any better! The weather was incredible which gave us the perfect stability in the conditions to be able to test consistently over the three days and the team and riders both need a lot of thanks for a few day's very hard work. The main purpose of the test was to evaluate certain chassis parts, engine specifications, and electronic control strategy updates for the 2018 season. Most of the boxes were ticked with quite clear information. The pace has been very good and very consistent and it feels that the momentum shown during the 2017 race season has been carried into this first test in preparation for 2018. Thank you to the Yamaha Motor Europe engineers for their excellent preparation before this test and to our colleagues from Yamaha Motor Corporation for their additional support and technical input. The work will continue after the test to analyse the data and make sure the decisions made are in the right direction but as a team, we feel we have taken a good first step to being competitive at the first round of the 2018 season at Phillip Island in February."