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Lowes and Canepa Challenge ‘The Corkscrew’

Pata Yamaha_070416

Crossing the Atlantic this week, the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team is gearing up for round nine of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. Alex Lowes is excited to be returning to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and will be joined once again by replacement rider Niccolò Canepa.

A favourite stop on the calendar, Lowes is greatly looking forward to his Californian visit. Having spent the past week testing in Suzuka – ahead of the FIM Endurance World Championship 8 Hours race later this month – the British rider is confident that his fitness has improved, enabling him to truly show the recent advances made to his YZF-R1. Frustrated by his shoulder injury inhibiting his performance over the past two race weekends, Lowes is determined to put on a show in the United States. The progress made by the Pata Yamaha team during recent competition and the last two tests at Misano have left him eager to come out fighting as he tackles the infamous ‘Corkscrew’ for the first of two 25 lap races at 14:30 local time on Saturday 9th July.

An impressive debut performance with the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK YZF-R1 at Misano last time out, immediately followed by a successful day of testing with the Crescent-run team left Canepa the obvious choice to continue as Sylvain Guintoli’s replacement as the championship moved to America. The Frenchman will continue his rehabilitation over the summer break with his Italian stand-in eager to impress again as he returns to the world stage. Canepa is no stranger to the Laguna circuit, having ridden here on WorldSBK and MotoGP machinery on five occasions throughout his career, and is keen to show what he can do on his newly acquired Yamaha Superbike as the action commences at 10:15 Friday morning for the first free practice of the weekend.

The Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca presents a short but challenging 3,610m circuit with 11 turns twisting itself around the banks of a dried lake. The technical track’s iconic feature sits at turns 8 and 8a as ‘The Corkscrew’ plummets 59 feet in just 137 meters – an 18% drop in elevation with a blind crest and apex – and truly has to be seen to be believed. Located just 16 km’s from the stunning Monterey coast, the fast and flowing roller-coaster of a circuit is loved by fans and riders alike as the laid back Californian vibe welcomes the world championship for its final contest ahead of the long summer break.

Alex Lowes
Championship: 10th / 81 points

“I really love the Laguna circuit, it’s a real thrill to race there and you never quite get used to ‘The Corkscrew’ no matter how many times you ride it! I’m really excited about being in a better shape physically than I have been at the last two rounds, to take advantage of the recent steps forward we have made with the Yamaha. I’m looking forward to getting back out there on Friday, starting the weekend strong and progressing from there.”

Niccolò Canepa
Championship: 19th / 16 points

“I’m very excited to race again with the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team! I had a great weekend in Misano at the debut, and I’m sure I can try to do a better result in Laguna. After the Misano tests I feel more comfortable on the YZF-R1 and really enjoyed discovering the latest improvements. I literally love the Laguna circuit and the atmosphere of the US round, so I’m 100% motivated and ready! Thanks again to Yamaha and to the Crescent Team for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started!”

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