The Pata Yamaha team remains frustrated at the existing performance gap between itself and the front-running Ducati and Kawasaki squads at the start of the 2018 World Superbike championship.
The new season heralded a rules shake-up with the aim of providing greater manufacturer parity and while racing has been closer thanks to the maximum rev limiter tweaks and concession points system, the Kawasaki of Jonathan Rea and his Ducati rivals still remained comfortably ahead of the rest of the field in Aragon.
In race two at Aragon both Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark finished 10 seconds off winner Chaz Davies on the Aruba.it Racing Ducati – a gap which concerns the Japanese manufacturer even with the benefit of the 2018 rules.
Lowes and van der Mark echoed one another’s comments on their race two battle but accepted it became slightly irrelevant finishing the race so far off the podium trio.
“I realised Michael was struggling with the front towards the end of the race and I managed to get past him after a nice battle but it was too far from the lead,” Lowes said. “It is not too important to me to finish in front of him when we are ten seconds from the front.
“Hopefully, next week in Assen, Michael’s home race, we want to be battling like that for the win.”
“To be fourth and fifth and 10 seconds behind the leaders is not where we have to be,” van der Mark added. “Hopefully, for Assen, we can find a solution to the problem.”
Pata Yamaha team principal Paul Denning accepts issues with traction under acceleration majorly hampered his riders’ pace at Aragon with its long sweeping corners and hopes for a turnaround at Assen having seen his squad score a double podium finish last month in Thailand.
“Everybody in the team did their best to give Alex and Michael an R1 that was capable of challenging for the podium but, whilst we did take some steps forward, unfortunately, the characteristic of the race in terms of not having the traction and corner-exit performance the guys needed was quite clear as the race developed,” Denning said.
“This was, perhaps, slightly unexpected, in that one of the very strong points of the Pata Yamaha R1 has been its consistency to the end of the race. The focus will be to regenerate that race durability performance.
“If a bad pair of races as, frankly, these two here in Aragon have been, can result in a decent points haul and a potentially closable gap to the winner then we have to take the positives from that and look forward to Assen.”
The World Superbike concession points system kicks in after the opening three rounds with every manufacturer apart from Ducati allowed to introduce an engine upgrade. Ducati’s domination of the podium has seen it collect a total of 21 concession points, nine more than nearest rival Kawasaki, with the golden number set at nine points fewer than the leading manufacturer after three rounds before teams are granted an engine upgrade. Therefore Kawasaki and Yamaha will be given an engine upgrade concession despite scoring podium finishes in 2018 along with the rest of its rivals BMW, Honda and MV Agusta.
The rev limits are also set to be tweaked after the opening three rounds, coming into effect at Assen, with World Superbike championship organisers yet to confirm what changes, if any, will be made.