Consecutive successes put van der Mark and Lowes in an extraordinary position as WorldSBK heads stateside
Three wins in four races, a first 1-2 in seven years, both riders topping the rostrum – could the mood in the Pata Yamaha team get any better? Perhaps, with a similar performance at Laguna Seca. The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has been rocked by the YZF-R1s in the past two races, and going into the GEICO US Round the message couldn’t be clearer: let the good times roll.
Neither rider has a long history of US successes, but neither did at Brno or Donington Park either. The one closest to reaching Laguna glory was Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) back in 2016, when he finished Race 1 in fourth place – just ahead of Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), a few months before becoming teammates.
The Brit took 118 races to open his win count in WorldSBK, but that stunning Brno triumph showed that it should not take 118 more for number two. Consistency has been the name of the game for Lowes this season, scoring points in every race so far, even when not taking regular podium positions. If he can keep the momentum from his Czech victory going and step up at Laguna, the sky is the limit for the 27-year-old in the six remaining rounds.
It also helps that Lowes, as is the case with most of the riders, loves the Californian track: “It's a fantastic circuit and place to come and race. The famous corkscrew section is lots of fun... The TV really doesn't do the gradient justice! In general, it's a tricky track and hard to get a good setting but lately, we have been working better and better as a team and it just makes me so excited to get there and keep on working!".
Van der Mark couldn’t follow his Donington double with another win, but his second place in Race 2 means that he is now third in the WorldSBK standings and just 9 points behind Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in second.
The Dutchman has always finished in the top 10 in the US. With a faster bike now accompanying his huge talent, what is the goal for van der Mark this year? “Last year my results were not great here but this year the bike has improved so much, as we could see at the last couple of rounds, so I am really confident we can fight for the podium again”.
Could the Yamaha men win a race for a third weekend in a row? Find out with all the action from California available thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.