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The Pata #yamaha Official #worldsbk Team put in maximum effort in Race 2 at Aragon for Round 3 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship on Sunday. Alex Lowes started from fourth on the grid and was involved in the podium battle but found himself suffering from a lack of grip on corner exit. Despite this, he rode to his full potential and enjoyed a superb battle once more with his teammate Michael van der Mark in the latter stages of the race, emerging the victor of the duel to cross the line in fourth place. Van der Mark had a blistering start from the middle of the front row and led across the line after the first lap. He, unfortunately, also had a slight issue with his R1 and battled as hard as he could despite not having a great feeling with the front end, enjoying the excellent fight with his teammate in the last few laps before finishing the race in fifth.
As has been the theme for most of the 2018 season so far, there was almost nothing to separate the Pata #yamaha riders all weekend, with them matching each other's time exactly in Friday's free practice. Then there was only 0.01s between them in Saturday's qualifying before they crossed the line in Race 1 within 1.053s of each other after 17 laps of #racing.
Lowes finished Saturday's Race 1 in a battling seventh place despite not being 100% comfortable with the feeling with his bike, meaning he would start Race 2 from the middle of the second row. He finished Sunday morning's Warm Up in third as the Pata #yamaha team tried to recreate the confidence he had with his R1 at the last round in Buriram but when the lights went out for Race 2, he did not have the drive he needed coming out of the corners. The 27-year-old British rider showed incredible determination and maturity to ride around this issue as, after dropping down to seventh in the early laps, he started to fight back and pick off the riders in front of him one by one.
By lap 8 he had passed his teammate van der Mark for fifth place but, as has been the case in nearly every race so far this season, the two would enjoy an excellent battle right to the line. As the race went on, the duel between the teammates became ever more sensational, and on the last lap, they swapped places a number of times before Lowes managed to power to the chequered flag ahead of his teammate to secure fourth place. Disappointed to not have the pace for the podium despite his best efforts, Lowes is determined to bounce back in Assen. The 13 points he collected sees him fifth in the championship standings with 70 points from the first six races.
Van der Mark lined up in the middle of the front row for Race 2 after he rode to a solid fifth in Saturday's Race 1. Sixth in Sunday morning's Warm Up, he was confident heading into Race 2 and this showed as he enjoyed an excellent start, taking the lead almost immediately. Sadly, this was to be short-lived as the 25-year-old Dutch rider just did not have the same feeling with the front end of his Pata #yamaha R1 as expected. Pushing hard at the front, he was made to run a bit wide after there was contact as Melandri passed him for the lead, but recovered superbly, although he just did not quite have the pace to keep the chasing riders at bay.
He battled hard, but could not hold them off and dropped down to sixth as he tried to work out a way to deal with his issue and when his teammate Lowes came past on lap 8, he responded in style. Latching on to Lowes back wheel, the two Pata #yamaha riders started to hunt down Michael Ruben Rinaldi in fourth. They both blasted past the Italian and van der Mark then tried to break away from Lowes but to no avail. Enjoying an excellent scrap, Lowes signalled his intent by making a move into Turn 1 on a final lap that saw them pass each other a number of times. In a dramatic finish, he just lost out to his teammate in the final few corners, crossing the line in fifth 0.436s behind Lowes to collect 11 championship points. He is now sixth in the overall standings with 67 points, just three behind his teammate Lowes, and up next is van der Mark's home round at Assen, a circuit he loves #racing at in front of the passionate Dutch fans.
Despite a tricky weekend at times, the Pata #yamaha Official #worldsbk Team head to Round 4 of the 2018 #worldsbk Championship at the TT Circuit Assen on the 20th-22nd of April confident they will be back fighting for the podium. Check out the full Race 2 results.
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