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Guintoli and Lowes Turn Up the Heat for Pata Yamaha in Thailand

Movistar Yamaha_031116
Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Lowes claimed second and fourth positions respectively for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team at a hot and humid Chang International Circuit this afternoon. Securing their direct qualification into tomorrow’s Superpole 2, Guintoli and Lowes put on a confident display as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship returned to Buriram for round two’s opening free practice action.

With the track newly resurfaced, both Yamaha riders began the first session carefully, evaluating the conditions on their respective YZF-R1’s. The Frenchman completed the morning in seventh, his best lap a 1’36.884, while his British teammate’s 1’36.994 followed closely behind in ninth.

As the track temperatures soared to 45°C, the afternoon’s times tumbled. Lowes hit the mark early in the second session jumping to second with his first fast lap and holding fifth for the opening 20 minutes. At the half way point Guintoli advanced his time to 1’36.0 to take a top-five position. The final minutes of the afternoon proved even more fruitful for the Yamaha riders; Lowes’ fastest lap – 1’35.224 – saw him eventually close the session in fourth, while Guintoli became one of only two riders to break the 1’35 barrier, securing second with a 1’34.811 on his final quick lap.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team returns to Buriram at 10:45hrs local time tomorrow for the final 15 minutes of free practice ahead of Superpole qualifying and the first race of the weekend at 16:00hrs local time.

Sylvain Guintoli
2nd / 1’34.811 / 35 laps

“It’s been a good first day here at Chang International! We progressed a lot from this morning, so to progress so much in so little time is really positive. The race rhythm is good, as is the pace on one lap, so we will just carry on working as we are this weekend. To be P2 straight away, for us on a new track where we have only had two sessions, is very positive. We will take the base point from there and just continue having fun, as I really love this track!”

Alex Lowes
4th / 1’35.224 / 43 laps

“The grip on the track was really low this morning, and it feels a lot different from last year, so today was really about learning a new circuit with the new bike. We’ve completed plenty of laps without really needing to change the YZF-R1 that much, so after the two sessions it feels pretty good. I’m hoping to make a good step forward tomorrow, mainly with the feeling in the front, but we’re already in Superpole 2 so we’ll see what we can do tomorrow to qualify well for the afternoon’s race.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal

“It’s been a very interesting day’s work here at the Chang International Circuit and despite the sweltering temperatures it’s a real pleasure to be back at such a well organised event and at a great facility. Some sections of the circuit have been resurfaced since last year and, I imagine through lack of use, were like ice in FP1 this morning. Gradually though the grip has come back in to the surface and the riders could start to get through a normal programme.

“With Sylvain and Alex in second and fourth places respectively going in to Superpole, we’ve probably been more competitive than expected but it’s great to see that the YZF-R1 can work well in this temperature, and at a completely different character of race track compared to Phillip Island. Lap time is one thing, racing is another but it’s been a solid start to the weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve tomorrow.”