Pata Honda riders warm-up for demanding Thai round

Pata Honda World Superbike riders Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark got the ball rolling for round two of the 2015 championship season in Thailand by visiting one of the world’s most prestigious Honda dealerships in Bangkok today.

Before driving 400km north-east to the new Chang International Circuit at Buriram the heart of Thailand’s interior, the Pata Honda duo met fans and staff at the Honda BigWing store in the Thai capital.

Like most of their rivals, neither Guintoli nor van der Mark have raced in Thailand before but both are eager to test their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machines around the Hermann Tilke-designed 4.554km circuit, featuring five left and seven right-hand corners.

Weather conditions are likely to have a powerful effect on the riders at Buriram as temperatures over the race weekend are expected to be in the high thirties centigrade with humidity levels approaching 90%.

The weekend’s action kicks off on Friday 20 March with two free practice sessions for Superpole on Saturday afternoon which will determine the grid for Sunday’s two 20-lap inaugural WSBK races in Thailand.

2015 World Superbike championship, round two
Chang International Circuit – Buriram, Thailand
Event schedule (local times GMT +7):

Friday 20 March
10.30-11.45 – Free practice 1
15.30-16.15 – Free practice 2

Saturday 21 March
09.45-10.30 – Free practice 3
12.30-13.00 – Free practice 4
15.00-15.15 – Superpole 1
15.25-15.40 – Superpole 2

Sunday 22 March
10.00-10.15 – Warm-up
13.00 – Race 1 (20 laps, 91.080km)
16.30 – Race 2 (20 laps, 91.080km)

Sylvain Guintoli
It’s been great to spend some time meeting some of the local fans in this really futuristic Honda BigWing dealership. It’s more like a concept or a fashion store than a bike shop and it’s a great way to get introduced to Thailand. I’m really looking forward to riding at this new track at Buriram which looks really exciting. I’ve watched some races on YouTube and it looks like a lot of fun and I’m hoping it will suit the characteristics of the CBR. My back is feeling better now so hopefully I won’t suffer as much as in Australia. So it’s all really exciting and I can’t wait to discover this new circuit.

Michael van der Mark
I really enjoy riding new tracks, especially ones where everyone is new to the circuit, so we’ll see who is fast and who gets the best set-up. I think we left Australia with a really good feeling, which was a really amazing experience for me where the bike felt really great. I know this weekend will be just as difficult but I’m looking forward to it because I’m usually quite fast at new tracks. I watched a few races on the internet and I think it’s a track that’ll really suit me because, from the videos I’ve seen, it looks really fast. Now I’m here, I just can’t wait to get out there and see how it is.

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