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Sizzling Sixth and Seventh for Pata Yamaha at Chang Race One

Pata Yamaha_031216
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK riders Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli battled the heat at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand today to take sixth and seventh respectively in the first race of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s second round.

The morning brought a positive start for the two Pata Yamaha riders, concluding the final 15 minute free practice session in fourth and sixth, having worked on a number of settings improvements between them. With air temperatures already hotter than those seen for the previous day – peaking at 34°C – the early afternoon saw Guintoli and Lowes set about the task of Superpole, having both secured direct promotion to the second session thanks to Friday’s free practice performance. The British rider showed immediately impressive pace, setting a 1’34.371 on race rubber for his first timed lap, and while prevented from utilising his run on the qualifying tyre by a technical issue, the 25-year-old’s original time was enough to take seventh. Guintoli continued his performance development with the YZF-R1 as shown throughout the weekend, claiming a top-five spot on the grid with a 1’33.866 lap time placing him on the second row.

A great start by Lowes saw him jump to fifth position off the lights as race one began before circulating in seventh for the opening laps. Closing on countryman Chaz Davies and the front group by lap nine with determined 1’34.6 pace, the British rider looked to be about to make his move before running wide at turn three leaving him in ninth place. An impressive comeback saw Lowes again dig deep, regaining ground and three positions to take sixth at the flag and 10 valuable championship points.

Guintoli had a fight on his hands for the early laps after losing time at the start. Crossing the line in 12th after the opening revolution the Frenchman quickly began to regroup, making up time and places to hold eighth then sixth by the mid-race point. Fighting with his teammate for position at three-quarters distance he eventually consolidated seventh position, adding nine points to his already healthy total and leaving him fifth in the standings heading into tomorrow’s final battle.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team return to Chang International Circuit on Sunday for the second 20-lap race scheduled at 16:00hrs local time.

Alex Lowes
Race: 6th / +20.754 / 20 Laps. Championship: 13th / 12 points

“A difficult day for me overall, but the race was quite positive with a sixth place finish so I’m quite happy with that even though we know the potential of the YZF-R1 and the package is a lot more. It’s my first proper full race of the year and I feel good with the direction we are going. I’m looking forward to making some more improvements for tomorrow and seeing what we can do in race two.”

Sylvain Guintoli
Race: 7th / +24.221 / 20 Laps. Championship: 5th / 30 points

“It was a difficult race for us in the end and we had difficulties in the braking zones meaning I ran straight, on three separate occasions. The first half of the race was really good – after recovering from the first run on – I had a good pace and was catching the Ducati’s but in the second half I started to struggle with rear-tyre-life so I couldn’t keep up that pace as I wanted. It was a tough race, which we were expecting but we will just have to keep working on the development of the YZF-R1 ready for tomorrow.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal

“It’s difficult to understand whether the team should be disappointed or extremely positive with today’s results. Disappointed perhaps because sixth and seventh, despite the very early stage of development of the YZF-R1 in WorldSBK trim, is slightly below our target and also because a technical issue stopped Alex from using his qualifying tyre and starting as high up the grid as he could have done.

“The positive aspect is that both riders came away with solid results despite suffering with some restrictions during the race which made a significant difference to their potential. This is only our second WorldSBK event as Pata Yamaha and we are already not so far away; we can look forward to time and experience allowing the YZF-R1 to make very significant steps forward in race distance performance.”