Pata Yamaha Riders Make Strong Early Progress In Thailand

Pata Yamaha Riders Make Strong Early Progress In ThailandDespite rising afternoon temperatures and characteristic high humidity in Thailand both Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark made real progress with their official YZF-R1 machines around the 4.554km Chang International Circuit. Lowes posted fifth best time of all, even after concentrating most of his efforts on finding a race set-up rather than pushing for a fast lap time early in the sessions. His fellow R1 riding team-mate van der Mark was as high as fourth in the timesheets at one stage, completing his own long run and being finally ranked eighth overall.

With their top eight performances today both Alex and Michael have comfortably taken starting spots in Superpole 2, which will finally determine their starting position for race one on Saturday afternoon.

Alex and Michael have taken podium finishes in WorldSBK races at Buriram in the recent past and will be out to replicate those kinds of showing in the first 20-lap race of the weekend, which gets underway at 16.00 on Saturday 11th March.

Before they have the chance to score more championship points tomorrow the riders have to take part in a 25-minute FP3 session, then Superpole 2 and finally the opening race of the weekend - the third of the 2017 season. The Sunday race, again over 20-laps, also takes place at 16.00.

Alex Lowes
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team

"We did another good job today. I made a race run at the start of the afternoon session and although I am not 100% comfortable on the bike yet we got a lot more information for tomorrow. I would like to have a bit more feel on the front end, that is an area I want to work on, but considering this I am quite happy and feel OK. Everything else feels fine on the bike. I am looking forward to tomorrow and with more confidence on the front, especially when releasing the brake, we should be in a decent position. The track conditions were better than last year and it is hot, which is always nice. I quite enjoy the challenge of those conditions! The bike looks really strong already so I am looking forward to a good race on Saturday."

Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team

"It was a really good day and I felt fine on the bike. This morning was not too bad and this afternoon I did a long run. It was OK but I missed a bit of lap time in the beginning. I was too slow at that stage but after a 17-lap run I was consistent, and quite fast. After that, we changed the gearing and then I did my fastest lap. Then we changed a few more things on the bike and I did a similar lap time to my best - so I am happy. I have a feeling that tomorrow my race pace will be even better. I think everybody would have expected the track conditions to be worse this afternoon in the heat but almost everybody improved their lap times. It was fast. When it was really warm this afternoon it was better for us to understand things, because the races will take place well into the day on Saturday and Sunday."