Van der Mark: "Misano suits the R1’s strengths"

Thursday, 5 July 2018 10:48 GMT

Yamaha duo prepared to extend purple patch at Riviera di Rimini Round

Since Donington Park, the Pata Yamaha team have barely put a foot wrong. They have scored more points than any other team across the last three race weekends, putting one or both riders on the podium every round (the best record for the manufacturer since its return to the championship in 2016). Coming off another successful weekend at Laguna Seca, the goal at the Pirelli Riviera di Rimini Round will be to keep that purple patch going.

There has been little to set Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) apart this season, with either rider finishing above the other on eight occasions. Both men have stepped up their game in 2018 and are well on course to improving their points tally from last year – van der Mark could in fact do so this weekend at Misano with just nine more points. Having added race wins to both riders’ usual consistency, there is now little if anything between them and the Kawasaki and Ducati works teams.

Another promising sign ahead of the weekend is that the YZF-R1 already performed impressively last season at Misano: Lowes took second place in Race 1, while van der Mark led several minutes before unfortunately crashing out with few laps remaining.

One year on, the Dutchman is even more confident about the Yamaha’s potential: “I think we highlighted how much we have improved the overall package by our performance in Race 2 at Laguna, as that is a track we have struggled at in the past. Misano is different, it suits the R1’s strengths and I am excited to see what we can do this weekend”.

Lowes was back on the podium at Laguna Seca, his third of the season. The Englishman has been on a roll lately with six consecutive top five finishes, a positive run he’s more than willing to extend in Rimini: “My confidence has been building lately and I am really enjoying my riding and how the R1 is performing. I can't wait to get back on track and start working with my guys to keep our momentum going and challenge for the podium”.

As at Donington Park, the pair will be joined at Misano by the team’s official test rider Niccolò Canepa (Yamaha Motor Europe). The home rider last rode at the Rimini track in 2016, acting as a replacement for Sylvain Guintoli and recording two top ten finishes.

Catch all of the action from the Pirelli Riviera di Rimini Round live and OnDemand thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.