Pata Honda returns to WSBK action in Asia

After a two-week break, the Pata Honda team and its riders Michael van der Mark and Sylvain Guintoli are preparing for this weekend’s (31 July – 2 August) tenth round of the 2015 World Superbike championship at Sepang in Malaysia.

Guintoli left the last round at Laguna Seca in the USA ruing a missed opportunity in race two following a collision with another rider that ruled him out of contention after posting seventh place in the first outing.

The French rider, 33, currently sits in sixth place in the overall points standings as he continues to work hard with his team to improve the performance of his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine.

After two top-eight finishes in California, Pata Honda team-mate Michael van der Mark has been riding a different specification CBR during the break between Laguna Seca and Japan, competing in the Suzuka 8 Hours race in Japan alongside Casey Stoner and Takumi Takahashi.

The 22-year-old WSBK rookie’s dreams of a third consecutive victory in the prestigious endurance race were ended, however, when Stoner crashed early in the race. Van der Mark will be looking to bounce back in Sepang where he won last year’s World Supersport race on his way to 2014 world championship glory.

Sepang first opened its doors in 1998, to audible gasps from motorsport fans the world over. Built over a period of 14 months, it boasts outstanding facilities and spectacular viewing. The 5.548km circuit can accommodate up to 130,000 raceday spectators in its stunning grandstands and features five left-handers and ten rights, with its main start-finish straight just short of 1km in length.

2015 World Superbike championship, round 10
Sepang, Malaysia
Event schedule (local times – GMT +8):

Friday 31 July
10.00-10.45 – Free practice 1
15.00-15.45 – Free practice 2

Saturday 01 August
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 02 August
09.45-10.00 – Warm-up
13.30 – Race 1 (16 Laps, 88.678km)
16.30 – Race 2 (16 Laps, 88.678km)

Michael van der Mark
Compared to the last two years, the Suzuka experience was really disappointing this year. I’ve never felt so bad after a race, so I’m looking forward to meeting up with the team again and to riding my WSBK-specification CBR. I’m not under any illusions because I know how tough the circuit is; it’ll be hard work but I really enjoy riding there, even though it can get quite hot. I had a really good battle in the heat last season with Jules Cluzel in Supersport which will bring back some happy memories for me. We’ll work as hard as we can from Friday morning to get the best out of the CBR and see where we are when Sunday comes.

Sylvain Guintoli
Malaysia is a great event in the calendar with a very fast layout in Sepang and very challenging conditions during the race weekend with heat and humidity. We will continue to work on different fronts to improve our results.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
Our results from Sepang last season were not spectacular but we’re hoping that a recent upgrade in the CBR’s engine software will improve the performance, both in corner entry in the heavy braking areas and in the bike’s ability to get off the turns. Of course, everything was crated up following Laguna Seca for transportation to Malaysia so we’ll be starting with what we finished with last time out, but working hard again to improve the overall package.

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