The paddock was aflutter at Motorland Aragón when both Pata Yamaha riders, Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Lowes, got on the front row after Superpole.
The main reason for the sudden improvement in performance was explained by team manager Paul Denning. “It is very difficult to be definitive because it is many small things, but the bike naturally has a lot more grip in qualifying trim, because even the race tyre option used at the start of qualifying is a softer one. In general if you have some development targets with the bike, adding rear grip always helps with everything.” This could explain why the Superpole results contrasted with some others, in practice and race, at Motorland Aragón.
“We are coming with a completely new bike, new team and lots of new stuff arriving all the time, at a new track. It takes time to find the solutions,” said Denning. “The top competitors have got bikes that have evolved over a few years and are really working in the sweet spot. It takes us a while to find where we need to be.”
After the two fly-away rounds in Australia and Thailand there was some new material for Motorland. “A small upgrade to the engine, which has helped, and it obviously needs setting up for each individual track. Some more riding position parts and not so much hardware – more to understand the overall strategy and the overall setting,” said Denning.
“Every bike has strong points and weaker points, and the R1 has some really unique strong points, so it is a question of getting to a sweet spot at each track so that they can start to use those strengths.”