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Pata Yamaha Get Off to a Superb Start Under the Lights in Qatar

Pata Yamaha Get Off to a Superb Start Under the Lights in Qatar

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Free practice

Michael van der Mark also had a great start to the final race weekend of the season, ending Thursday in fifth overall to cap a superb opening day for the team with both riders, once again, making it directly through to SP2.

Fresh from an excellent MotoGP debut in Sepang with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team the weekend before, Van der Mark approached Thursday at the Losail International Circuit in his usual fashion, building his pace with the Yamaha R1 throughout the day. Despite a lack of grip in FP1, there was almost nothing to separate the 25-year-old Dutch rider and his flying teammate at the end of the hour-long session, with van der Mark recording a 1:58.680 finish.

In FP2 van der Mark focused on trying to find the right setup with his Pata Yamaha R1, working with his team in an effort to find increased rear grip. After making some tweaks, the 2014 Supersport World Champion put together a nice run of laps in the mid to high 1:58s, but still feels there is more potential to unlock with his R1 when it comes to race pace. On his final run, he managed to set a 1:58.315 which saw him finish fifth overall on the timesheets, 0.649s off the top, and he is determined to make another step forward on Friday in Qatar.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team return to action at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on Friday at 16:20 pm local time for FP3, with qualifying due to start at 18:30 pm and the 17-lap Race 1 at 21:00 pm.

Michael van der Mark 

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 5th +0.649s

"We have had a good first day here in Qatar and I am very happy with my Pata Yamaha R1! To be honest, we had quite a good pace but we are still struggling a little bit, so we have some changes to make for tomorrow. Anyway, it was good to see how much the bike has improved again, every track we get to it is now competitive straight away. The bike was quick here last year and it was great to see with all the changes we have made this season that it was still quick here! I am happy with how today went but, for sure, we have a lot of work to do as I have a good one-lap pace, but we need to work on our consistency. One of the issues is grip, we managed to solve most of the problems by the end, but we are still searching for the perfect setup and we will work as hard as we can tomorrow to get it right!"

Paul Denning

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal

"The night race here in Qatar is always a slightly surreal and special atmosphere and the bikes look fantastic under the lights at the Losail International Circuit. The Pata Yamaha Team achieved its first podium here at the end of 2016 and following some great results in Magny-Cours and Jerez, we arrived here with the confidence that we would be able to perform quite well. It has been the best first day of the season for the team, Michael pushed hard and showed good consistency as always.