With three days to go until the opening round of the World Superbike Championship we hear from three of the most important blokes from the PATA
Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team about first impressions, where the work’s been directed and where each rider’s strength is.
The Japanese marque is back this year, in collaboration with highly experienced Crescent Racing team with riders Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli. The 2016 event in Australia will mark the Yamaha factory’s return to the category for the first time since 2011.
Alex Lowes, team rider
“My first impressions of the R1, even from the first three or four laps, were fantastic,” the talented 25-year-old said. “The engine and the natural turn and character of the chassis was something I really noticed straight away. The engine gives me a lot of feedback, I understand it quite well, even early on, and the biggest challenge now is to unleash its potential.”
Sylvain Guintoli, team rider
“We’ve completed everything we wanted to do, to test and to explore,” said the 2014 world champ following the team’s two-day test in Jerez. “We focused on various things including carrying on working with the new swingarm, riding position, back-shifting, engine-brake strategies, new forks and different configurations within them, and traction control, so we’ve done a lot!
“We have a lot more experience with the YZF-R1 now, a lot more of an understanding, so now we just have to take this with us to Australia and carry on the good work!”
Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli
Paul Denning, Crescent / PATA Yamaha WSBK team principal
Talking about the rider line-up and their potential, the veteran team principal described Lowes and Guintoli as “a good combination, very, very strong riders,” he said.
“It’s a really interesting combination for the Pata Yamaha team because Alex will give Sylvain a really, really hard time in terms of speed and Sylvain will give Alex a hard time in terms of his relentless consistency, and his ability, it seems, to always make good decisions to grind out the best results possible in all circumstances.”