The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team heads east again this week for the second round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit in Thailand. Fresh from his season opening top-five race finish, Sylvain Guintoli is eager to replicate his Phillip Island form and develop the progress made so-far with his YZF-R1. Looking to bounce back from a challenging weekend in Australia, Alex Lowes is feeling confident about his return to the Thai track. The scene of a podium celebration for the 25-year-old at last year’s inaugural visit, Lowes is excited about going to the 4,554m circuit and is determined to build on the potential shown during his opening weekend.
A purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility situated 400kms to the northeast of Thailand’s capital Bangkok, the Herman Tilke designed Chang International Circuit opened in late 2014. Reaching the highest FIM criteria, the track’s layout combines long straights with 7 right and 5 left-hand corners with its nine-turn technical complex being viewed easily from the main 50,000 seater grandstand. Buriram (‘the pleasant city’) is a largely agricultural region with a population of approximately 30,000. The province also retains numerous ancient sanctuaries and ruins as an important reminder of its long and varied history.
Track action commences for Guintoli and Lowes at 10:15hrs local time in the first of the weekend’s two hour-long free practice sessions on Friday 11th March before the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s wheels turn in anger for race one at 16:00hrs local time on Saturday 12th March.
“My first visit to the Buriram circuit in 2015 was a very good surprise as I loved the track! It has a good variety of corners, stop and go at the start and more flowing to finish, and with the consistent temperatures in Thailand it’s a very hot race so it’s very challenging for the riders. Last year the public came in big numbers, even though it was our very first event there, so there was a great atmosphere and it was one of the noisiest rounds of the year! This year I’m hoping to continue the good work already produced over the winter, and shown at Phillip Island, with the YZF-R1. Chang is a very different layout to PI but we’ll work hard to match the bike to the track and see what we can do for the races.”
“Chang has good memories for me from last year’s race. It’s a relatively new circuit on the calendar this year, being only the second time WorldSBK are visiting Thailand, and I can’t wait to get started. I don’t really have much to say from Phillip Island so I’m looking to make a proper start to my 2016 campaign at round two. I feel chilled and relaxed this week and really looking forward to it. It will be a tough weekend with the heat and a brand new circuit for the YZF-R1 therefore we already have a lot of work to do from Friday’s first free practice but it’s going to be great. The people are all very welcoming and the support is great in Thailand so I’m sure everyone is as excited as me to get going!”