The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team heads to its title sponsor Pata’s second home race of the season this week as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship returns to Italy. Past the half-way stage of the 2016 season, round eight sees Alex Lowes visit the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, on the Adriatic coast, from 17-19th June with local rider Niccolò Canepa as his teammate.Successfully testing his YZF-R1 around the 4,226m circuit at the beginning of June, Lowes is confident of the improvements made and is looking forward to returning as the real contest begins on Friday morning. The Briton has spent the ensuing days continuing to focus on his rehabilitation from recent shoulder surgery in a bid to be as fit as possible ready for the first 21-lap race on Saturday afternoon. An event he always looks forward to, Lowes is eager to put on a good show for the passionate Italian fans and reward Pata for their support over the recent weeks.
Fresh from his UK STK1000 podium at Donington Park and stunning victory in the Portuguese 12h Endurance World Championship event in recent weeks, Canepa is bubbling with enthusiasm to get back on the YZF-R1, having tested the WorldSBK-spec machine here with the team just two weeks before. Quick from the off at the last round of competition with the sister STK1000 team, the 28-year-old rider hopes to replicate his form at the circuit he knows so well, and continue to build on his momentum and success. The Italian will take to the track at 10:15 local time for the opening free practice session in front of his home support and will be looking to put on a show for the adoring fans as he returns to the top class.Nestled in the picturesque coastline of the Rimini Riviera, the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli sits just 2kms from Misano Adriatico and its bustling beaches. The location, good weather and influx of passionate fans lend the entire event its festival-like atmosphere, while the circuit’s 16-corner clockwise layout provides countless overtaking opportunities thanks to its fast and flowing nature.
Friday presents two, hour-long sessions of free practice action as Lowes and Canepa bid to secure their places for Saturday’s Superpole qualifying – which will be on track at 10:30 local time – while lights go out at 13:00 for a race a-piece on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Sam Lowes; “I’m really looking forward to Misano as our bike has been making a lot of progress recently. It’s also a track where I believe we can be competitive. The biggest question mark at the moment is me, not the bike, so I am working as hard as possible to be close to full fitness and aim to get the results we all deserve. It’s a great track and a great part of the world so I can’t wait to get there and get started!”Niccolo Canepa; “I’m really happy to be back in WorldSBK and with the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team. After the STK1000 podium and the victory in the Endurance World Championship this is a very good present! It is also great to have this opportunity in Italy and to race in front of the Italian fans. After completing the test with the Pata Yamaha team ten days ago I feel ready to ride the WorldSBK-spec YZF-R1. For sure the level in the championship is very high but I will fight as usual to do my best. I’m sorry for Sylvain but it is good that he will be joining the team for the event and I wish him a fast recovery.” (Credit: Yamaha Factory Racing)