A trio of scintillating races Down Under involved both PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team riders as they fought for victory.
The season could not have started better at Phillip Island for Yamaha as Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) claimed Race 1 victory and teammate Michael van der Mark was in the lead battle. Razgatlioglu was in the fight for Race 2 victory too until a mechanical issue forced him to retire while van der Mark was fourth in the thrilling race.
It is a promising start for the team, despite Razgatlioglu’s retirement, as they look to challenge for podiums and race wins throughout the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. Razgatlioglu was competitive on his Yamaha debut as he claimed a sensational win in Race 1 by just 0.007s.
Razgatlioglu said: "We have made an incredible start to the season. At Phillip Island in the last two seasons I was not fast, but we were at the top this time on the R1. The sprint race today was not bad - quite good really - but there was just too much spinning on the last lap and Johnny passed me inside on the last corner. In the second race, the long race, I just waited patiently, and then with four laps to go I passed Loris Baz and started to go for a podium finish, but then my race was over. Overall, it has been a very nice, very good race weekend and we were just unlucky after the second race. Maybe I could not have won that one but I am sure I could have again been in the fight."
Van der Mark’s two fourth place finishes in the full-distance races don’t tell the full story of his weekend. He was second heading into the final corner of Race 1 but found himself trying to defend around the outside from Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Lowes held on and Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) was able to pass van der Mark as the Dutchman finished fourth. In Race 2 he was again in the lead group but was unable to hold on as the lead trio pulled away during the last couple of laps.
The 27-year-old commented: "In the Superpole race I did not have the confidence or feeling with the bike that I had [on Saturday], so it was a real ten-lap struggle. I was really upset because Saturday everything went so well, and I was just a bit unlucky to miss out in the last corner. For the final race we found a set-up solution and I had a really good start. To be honest my plan worked out and again we planned not to take the lead and try to slow it down a bit, not stress the tyre. It went well until two laps before the end when the guys around me started to push. I pushed as well but I just did not have enough grip to attack again. It is a shame but I think we must be quite happy with the pace that we have had and how quick we have been from the first moment on this track.”
There are lots of positives for the PATA YAMAHA outfit to take from Phillip Island given their results including taking an enthralling victory in Race 1 and being in the lead group of riders throughout the weekend.
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