Pata Yamaha WorldSBK boss Paul Denning is seemingly pleased to have support teams alongside his official effort as doubles the amount of data available across the garages.
Denning has Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark in his stable while the new GRT Yamaha squad field reigning WorldSSP champ Sandro Cortese and Marco Melandri which Denning admits throws up behind-the-scenes problems.
“There are of course challenges behind the scenes when more bikes are supported, but from our side, as the referenceteam, we’ve already seen some positives to having more R1s on the track,” said Denning.
“With the bikes at the same spec and good riders on them, we’re now able to draw on the shared data of four riders and that’s advantageous for our team and for Yamaha as a whole.
The overriding point that needs to be remembered is that with a permanent grid at this moment of only 18 riders, it is almost essential to have two more very good riders on very good bikes.
“From Yamaha’s point of view, it shows that after three years of development and hard work the bike has got to a point where it can be delivered to a team with a base level of technical support and be immediately competitive.”
Lowes, in his own words, has ridden better than ever so far this year and has been able to challenge reigning champion Jonathan Rea for most of the season so far - but that has been for second place…
“Alvaro Bautista is obviously a very high-quality rider, and you only need to look at his 2018 MotoGP season or his performance when he had the chance to prove himself on a factory machine to understand that,” said Denning.
“The quality of the rider is beyond question, but it also looks like he has arrived in WorldSBK at the perfect timing, as the bike he’s riding is probably closer to the MotoGP V4 bike in ethos and feel than the previous V-twin machine.
The outright speed of the bike is a problem for everyone else, but the bike is of course built within the regulations.
“If we assess Race 2 in Thailand, Alex matched Alvaro over the whole 20 laps in sectors three and four but lost time in sectors one and two – essentially two acceleration areas followed by long straights.
“It was the same for Jonathan Rea, so the goalposts have moved from everyone’s perspective. But until the other riders on the same bike as Alvaro are able to achieve a similar performance level, it’s quite hard for Dorna and the FIM to legislate for one rider’s results.
“There are also circuits where outright acceleration and engine performance won’t be such an advantage and hopefully we can use the R1’s strengths to close the gap at those tracks.
“Our focus is to get the absolute best out of the R1 and to take the winning opportunities as they come – the season is yet young and we are hungry.”