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The Pata #yamaha Official #worldsbk Team put in an encouraging performance on Sunday at Phillip Island, the opening round of the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship, with both riders on podium pace in an enthralling Race 2. Alex Lowes fought in the leading group throughout the incredibly entertaining 22-lap flag-to-flag race, before crossing the line in fifth, a mere 2.474s behind the race winner. His teammate Michael van der Mark was also in the podium hunt during the first part of the race but suffered from a drop in grip levels after his pit stop, battling hard to finish just half a second behind his teammate in seventh.
After a number of riders suffered from tyre degradation issues in Race 1, Sunday's Race 2 was changed to a flag-to-flag format, with riders allowed to do a maximum of 12 laps on one rear tyre before they would have to make a mandatory pit stop. Lowes had finished Race 1 in a battling sixthand therefore he lined up in third on the grid for Sunday's race. When the lights went out, the 27-year-old British rider did not have the best of starts and dropped down to ninth in the opening laps but just like in Race 1, he maturely waited for the feeling with his Pata #yamaha R1 to come to him, and as the race progressed he started to charge through the field. On lap five he was the quickest man on track and was chasing down the podium battle as he made his way up into eighth before the mandatory pit stops. Timing his pit stop to perfection, Lowes emerged as one of the big winners from the chaos and was fighting in the leading group. Once again he was involved in an excellent battle with his teammate - following on from their superb duel during Race 1 - and after passing van der Mark, Lowes rode hard in an attempt to close down the leaders towards the end of the race before crossing the line in fifth, just 2.474s behind the eventual race winner. This result sees Lowes claim 11 championship points to add to the ten he picked up on Saturday, meaning he leaves Phillip Island fifth in the overall standings with 21 points.
Van der Mark fought bravely to bring his Pata #yamaha R1 home in ninth place during Race 1 after suffering from severe rear tyre problems, which meant the 25-year-old Dutch rider would start Sunday's Race 2 from sixth on the grid. After a lightning start, he went on a stunning charge, passing rider after rider on his way up to third by lap 3. Battling for the podium, he came in to make his mandatory pit stop from fourth place on lap 10, one lap before his teammate Lowes. After a perfect wheel change, unfortunately he didn't quite have the same feeling with the tyres and, try as he might, he could not match his earlier rhythm. Determined to collect as many championship points as possible, he fought valiantly to bring his Pata #yamaha R1 home in seventh. Securing nine points in Race 2, van der Mark now occupies eighth in the championship standings with 16 points heading into Round 2.
After an encouraging opening race weekend of the season, the Pata #yamaha Official #worldsbk Team now move onto Round 2 of the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship at the Chang International circuit in Thailand on the 23rd-25th March. Check out the full Race 2 results.
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