A lightening start from Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) saw him elevate from 10th on the grid to fifth by the end of the
and Haslam on the Kawasaki is the benchmark to beat, and the PATA Yamaha squad of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark is looking stronger each round.
With a new BMW S1000RR coming, as well as updates to the Honda CBR1000RR
For the first time since 2015, Yamaha was challenged, but Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark weren't rattled.
Prior to the race Van der Mark joked that "I don't get scared on a bike, I scare the others!" and on Sunday
This left Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark to carry the load between the two of them, a tiring job at Suzuka.
Winning by only 30 seconds
Yamaha Factory Racing Team
Van der Mark
Red Bull Honda
He made his decision at the best possible time and Van der Mark followed suit a lap later.
It took Kawasaki another tour to pit, and by the time Rea had emerged
For Van der Mark the goal is the race and making sure Yamaha claims a fourth win in a row.
"We made some
Teammate Michael van der Mark echoed those thoughts.
"With the regulations you need to have a good plan before the qualifying sessions," said the
for innovation in the rulebook, the machine that will be raced this year by Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Alex Lowes, and Michael van der Mark is very different to the trio's regular YZF-R1 mount.
The factory team's Yamaha YZF-R1 breaks
does close the door to Tom Sykes, who had been linked to a possible ride with Pata Yamaha, had either Van der Mark or Lowes moved to the Kawasaki team to replace him.
But with Leon Haslam set to take the second