Yamaha runners back in contention

Sunday, 25 March 2018 14:01 GMT

Yamaha became the third manufacturer to reach a 2018 podium, with their duo taking second and third.

The Pata Yamaha Official World SBK team had plenty to celebrate at the Motul Thai Round with a first 2018 podium for each of their riders, and the team´s first double podium since the 2016 campaign.  After finishing in fifth and seventh respectively in Race One, Alex Lowes and Michael Van Der Mark both started towards the front of the grid in Race Two configuration, and took full advantage after leading in the early stages.

“It´s fantastic for the whole Pata Yamaha World Superbike team to have me and Michael on the podium”, enthused Lowes after securing his eighth career podium.  “When the race is as close as that, everyone´s close together and we´re battling I really enjoy it, and that´s the main thing.  Last year I had a few battles with Michael, but this year every race we´ve been battling, so that´s been a lot of fun.  You want to beat your teammate, and we always end up being quite similar, so that´s quite good for the team and we keep pushing each other.  I really hope it stays as close as this all year.”

Dutchman Michael Van Der Mark held the race lead until lap eight, when he fell victim to Chaz Davies´ irresistible pace.  But he was nonetheless pleased with a significant progression compared to his opening three races of the season, and after a runner-up ranking, the fourth of his career, he moves sixth in the Championship overall.

“Yesterday I wasn´t happy at all after the race, I struggled so much.  For this race we took a gamble, went back to the Friday set-up, changed the front tyre and also with this great format it helped us a bit.  At the end it was quite difficult to stay with Chaz, but I saw I could manage the gap behind me.  So second place, after yesterday´s result and Philip Island, is amazing.  I think this was the limit, and the limit today was a lot further than yesterday, so we must be happy with that.”