As the sun sets on a glittering first season in the World Superbike Championship for Muc-Off, we take a look back, reflecting on the 3x race victories and 11x additional podium visits this season with the PATA Yamaha WorldSBK team and its star rider lineup of Michael van der Mark #60 and Alex Lowes #22.
The season got off to a great start as early as Round 2, Thailand. Where the team scored only its second double podium in WSBK finishing P2 and P3 in race 2 of the weekend, only the teams second double podium result since their return to the WorldSBK Championship in 2016 - adding to the one they secured in Magny-Cours (2017)!
The season continued onto Assen, round 4, the home of Michael van der Mark, and he put in a superstar performance in front of his fanatical fans to contest for the win at the 'Cathedral of speed' with fantastic podium results in both Race 1, finishing in Second place and Race 2, finishing in Third place.
As the season edged towards its halfway stages, the WorldSBK circus arrived at Muc-Off's home round, Donnington Park (Round 7). Donnington would transpire to be a turning point for the team as the YZF-R1 gelled instantly with the landscape allowing Michael van der Mark to dominate proceedings taking victories in both Race 1 and Race 2.
Not to be outdone, Alex Lowes, at the very next round, Brno (Round8), took his first victory in the championship for the Verwood based team in an inspired ride to a 1st place in the Czech Republic. Followed home by Michael in another team 1-2 podium finish, the teams second of the season!
The WSBK season then jumped across the pond and landed stateside, California for Round 8 and to the unique venue and layout of Laguna Seca and the infamous 'corkscrew' corner. Another stellar performance from Alex Lowes, put the PATA Yamaha on the podium (3rd) in Race 1. Alex and Michael finished just off the podium in race 2, hounding the eventual podium finishes across the line!
The season returned to Europe for round 9. Misano, Italy and it was once again another weekend of fantastic performances with Micheal keen to put a disappointing US Laguna Seca campaign behind him. Michaels R1 grow into the event with a positive P4 in race 1, only for that to get trumped in Race 2 with an even more impressive P2.
Round 10, saw the championship head to Portugal with Portimao the venue. It was another doiuble podium for Michael van der Mark who demonstrated great pace over the entire weekend and was rewarded in the races with a P3 in race 1, going one better in race 2, finishing in second place!
The late summer sun met the WSBK paddock as they arrived in central France, Magny-Cours, Michael once again showed his class, involved in race long battles for the podium in both races, finishing just off the podium in race 1 only for Michael to battle harder in race 2 achieving a 3rd place podium finish in race 2.
The season came to a close under the floodlit Qatari night sky and Alex Lowes was able to sign off a very successful 2018 campaign in an action-packed Race 1 and was rewarded with a podium finish in the final action of the season as adverse weather saw the cancellation of Race 2.
All-in-all a fantastic opening year in the World Superbike Championship for Muc-Off with 14 podium visits, including 3 victories. We'd like to thank the entire team from staff, mechanics, technicians and of course the riders for all the fantastic results and efforts all year long, we can't wait for the action to get back underway in 2019!
PATA Yamaha WSBK Team podium results:
|Michael van der Mark #60||Alex Lowes #22|
|Championship position - 3rd||Championship position - 6th|
|R2 - Thailand (Race2 ) - P2||R2 - Thailand - Race2 - P3|
|R4 - Assen - Race 1 - P2
R4 - Assen - Race 2 - P3
R6 - Donington - Race 1 - P1
R6 - Donington - Race 2 - P1
|R7 - Brno - Race 2 - P2||R7 - Brno - Race 2 - P1|
|R8 - Laguna Seca - Race 1 - P3|
|R9 - Misano - Race 2 P2|
|R10 - Portimao - Race 1 - P3
R10 - Portimao - Race 2 - P2
|R11 - Magny Cour - Race 2 - P3|
|R13 - Losail - Race 1 - P3|