The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team achieved a stunning Race 2 double podium on Sunday in extremely hot and humid conditions in Buriram, Thailand at Round 2 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship.
Van der Mark finished Saturday’s Race 1 in seventh, slightly disappointed with his pace but happy with his consistency. In Race 2 van der Mark enjoyed a superb start from the head of the second row and became embroiled in an excellent battle with his teammate for the race lead, before van der Mark made a small break on lap 3. Pushing hard, he opened a gap at the front of the field, leading the way until Chaz Davis managed to hunt him down on lap 8. Determined not to let him get away, he managed to match his pace lap for lap but could not get past, and as the race went on he started to focus on managing the gap to his teammate Lowes. He went on to cross the line in second, 2.185s behind Davies, to secure his third Yamaha podium and equal his best result for the Pata Yamaha team. In the process, he collected 20 championship points and he is now sixth in the overall standings with 45 points.
Lowes fought back to a strong fifth-place finish in Race 1 at the Chang International Circuit on Saturday but struggled with the feeling with his Pata Yamaha R1 during the opening laps of the race before storming back through the field. He battled hard with his teammate during the opening three laps, but he could not quite match van der Mark’s early pace as he dropped to third place. Patiently and maturely, he gradually found a better rhythm and crossed the line in a brilliant third place, just 1.699s behind van der Mark to record his maiden podium for the season and seventh in total for the team. The 16 points he collected for his efforts mean he is now fifth overall in the championship standings with 48 points, just 21 points behind the leader and three ahead of his teammate.
Michael van der Mark: “For the race we took a gamble and went back to Friday’s setup. We changed the front tyre and it also helped us a little bit. After the start I was fast, I had a nice battle with Alex again, then Chaz Davies passed me and I tried to stay with him for a long time but he was just a bit quicker than me in some sectors. The pace was quite good and I saw that we were opening a gap to Alex in third. At the end, it was quite difficult for me to stay with Chaz, but then I saw I could manage the gap behind me. So, second place after the results from yesterday and at Phillip Island was really positive!“.
Alex Lowes: “It was a great end to the weekend and it was fantastic for the Pata Yamaha team to have myself and Michael on the podium! To be honest, I was too slow in the first part of the race, which is a shame, but obviously Michael was really strong so maybe he is doing something a bit better than me or he found a better setup. He did a great job and I have to try and learn from that and be stronger for the next races. I feel really good in the last part of the race, in all the sessions on old tyres I have been strong but I just keep giving myself a bit too work much to do. When the race is as close as that and everyone is close together and we are battling, I really, really, enjoy it and that is obviously the main thing.”