Yamaha flat out in bid for hat-trick
Yamaha have dominated Suzuka for two years and are aiming for a hat-trick in 2017.
Former Honda double winner Michael van der Mark joins his Pata Yamaha WSB team-mate and 2016 winner Alex Lowes this year, alongside reigning Japanese Superbike champion Katsuyuki Nakasuga.
And, despite battling jetlag after flying straight from the Laguna Seca WSB round to test the R1 at Suzuka last week, former BSB champion Lowes says that his first impressions of this year’s bike were positive.
“The first day was a bit difficult because we came straight from America, but it’s been a good test. We finished with a race stint simulation and felt strong. Our lap times were really consistent. Now I’m looking toward the race.”
His positivity was echoed by van der Mark, who was left feeling very positive at the way the team was working together.
He said: “To be honest we didn’t change a lot with the bike, which is good. On the final day we did a long run, and it’s good to confirm that the bike works for the three of us. We were really fast and consistent. Of course the race is different but it’s good that we all have a good feeling with the bike and there were no big problems. I’m happy to finish the test and looking forward to the race.
“For the 8-Hour it’s not only the bike set-up but also teamwork that’s really important, and we already have a good atmosphere in the team. It’s nice; everybody seems relaxed and confident.
“Of course when the race weekend arrives, there is always a little bit more pressure, but I’m really looking forward to the race.”