Pata Yamaha Ready to Launch Triple-Pronged Assault at Donington Park
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team are fully motivated for their home event at Donington Park this weekend, Round 6 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship, as they prepare to challenge for honours with a three-rider lineup in the UK. Michael van der Mark is looking to bounce back from his Race 2 DNF in Imola and return to the form that saw him record a double podium at Assen. Local hero Alex Lowes cannot wait to ride in front of the passionate UK fans at his home round as he looks to repeat his last-to-third podium heroics from Donington last season. They will be joined on track this weekend by official Test Rider Niccolò Canepa, fresh from finishing second in the recent FIM EWC 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring, with the Italian hoping to continue the development of the Pata Yamaha R1 and also fight for a good result.
Following on his double podium at his home round in Assen, Van der Mark rode to strong fifth-place finish in Race 1 at Imola before crashing out of Race 2 while in the hunt for the rostrum. The 25-year-old Dutch rider is looking to build on this pace at a track he enjoys riding and that plays to the strengths of the Pata Yamaha R1, highlighted by his ride to fourth in Race 2 at Donington Park last year when he missed out on the podium by just 0.784s. Van der Mark has also tasted victory at the circuit before, winning the WorldSSP race in 2014, and currently lies sixth in the overall championship standings with 113 points after 10 races.
For Lowes, you could not get much more of a home round than Donington! Born in Lincoln, the 27-year-old British rider only lives five minutes from the circuit and he is relishing the chance to race in front of the British fans. Last year saw him pull off one of the rides of the year in Race 1, as he charged from last to third after being run off track to record his second WorldSBK Podium at Donington Park. After a tough couple of weekends in Imola and Assen that have seen Lowes fight valiantly through adversity despite showing good pace, he is now looking forward to getting to a track he knows suits his R1 and his riding style as he aims to return to the podium. Following his 16-point haul from the last round at Imola, Lowes is currently seventh in the championship standings with 92 points and determined to close the gap to the Championship top 3.
Van der Mark and Lowes will be joined on track at Donington Park by Pata Yamaha Official Test Rider Niccolò Canepa. The 30-year-old Italian, a former MotoGP rider and reigning FIM Endurance World Champion, is excited to get the chance to continue to develop the Pata Yamaha R1 at a track he enjoys riding after impressing during preseason testing. Fresh from securing a podium at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring with the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team, Canepa is looking forward to getting back on the Pata Yamaha R1 at Donington Park ahead of another wildcard at Magny-Cours later in the season.
Located near Castle Donington in Leicestershire, Donington Park hosted its first motorcycle race in 1931. Requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence in 1939 at the start of the Second World War, it reopened its doors to racing in 1973. The 4,023km circuit has 12 corners in total, seven right-handed and five left-handed, plus a start/finish straight of 550m in length, and is known for its fast-flowing corners, dramatic elevation changes and its two hairpins.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team takes to the track at their home round for FP1 on Friday at 9:45 am local time (GMT+1) in the UK, with Race 1 scheduled for 1:15 pm GMT on Saturday, and Race 2 at 1:00 pm on Sunday.
Michael van der Mark – Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 6th – 113 Points
“I am looking forward to racing at Donington Park! It is always special to race in the UK and I am hoping to continue the progress we have made so far this season. After the double podium at Assen, we had good pace in Imola and I feel we can build on that at Donington, a track that suits the characteristics of the R1 and where I have won in the past in WorldSSP. Even the weather doesn’t look too bad, so I am looking forward to hitting the track on Friday morning for FP1!”
Alex Lowes – Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Alex Lowes
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 7th – 92 points
“I really enjoy Donington Park! It’s such a fun track to ride, especially the section from Redgate down to Hollywood, Craner Curves, the Old Hairpin and through to Schwantz, it is one of the best sections of track anywhere in the world. It’s an added bonus that it’s so close to home for me and I love racing in front of the British fans as they’re always amazing. I can’t wait to get started!”
Niccolò Canepa – Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Test Rider Niccolò Canepa
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Test Rider
“I’m really happy to race again in WorldSBK with the Pata Yamaha Team. I’m the test rider of the team, and I’m really proud that have given me the opportunity to race. The target for the weekend will be to help the team with the development of the bike for the next races but I think that we can fight for a good result. Donington is a circuit that I really like and the atmosphere in England is always amazing! So I start the weekend with a great mood!”