It was a disappointing end to the 2013 World Superbike championship season for Pata Honda at Jerez today with riders Michel Fabrizio and Leon Haslam struggling with grip and electronics issues.
Fabrizio took a points-scoring finish in race two but Haslam was forced to retire from both 21-lap outings at the 4.423km Jerez circuit in southern Spain. Both races were won by Eugene Laverty but Tom Sykes, by finishing third in race one, secured the 2013 World Superbike championship title.
The Pata Honda team will re-group on Tuesday for a private test at Jerez when regular rider Jonathan Rea is expected to return from injury and the preparation work for the 2014 World Superbike championship season will begin.
We have had grip level problems all weekend and the disappointing thing is that we were not able to find a solution. This resulted in two very difficult races for me and I am sad that I had to finish the season in this way. I have enjoyed the opportunity to ride the CBR with this team and I wish Jonathan a happy return to the bike on Tuesday.
It’s difficult to know what to say, really. It’s been an unbelievably disappointing way to finish what has been a really difficult season. I’m glad to see the back of it to be honest and we’ll try to analyse what happened this weekend so that we can plan to get things in place for 2014.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
It has not been a good weekend. Grip levels were low and we know that in these conditions we normally struggle more than our rivals. This time round our performance kind of dropped off a cliff – we weren’t able to fight for anything and all we could do was gather some information. We’ll be testing on Tuesday and it will be interesting to hear Jonathan’s view. We have work to do for next season for sure.
In World Supersport, Michael van der Mark finished fourth in today’s final round of the 2013 World Supersport championship season, securing fourth place in the overall standings in his rookie year.
His Pata Honda team-mate Lorenzo Zanetti had a relatively lonely ride to fifth place, and fifth in the points table, as world champion Sam Lowes took the final race win of the year.
Dutch flyer van der Mark took three podium finishes in his debut World Supersport campaign, while Zanetti finished on the rostrum at Monza in May. Both are enthusiastic about the forthcoming 2014 championship year which begins with a private test at Jerez on Tuesday.
Michael van der Mark - 4th
It was quite difficult today because it took us a while to find the right set-up for Jerez. My start wasn’t that great and I had to pass some other guys but my pace was OK. I had to catch Rolfo but he was doing really good lap times and we were quite similar. Three laps from the end I was on his rear wheel and tried to push to get even closer but I pushed a little too much and lost the front a few times. I’m happy with fourth place in the race and in the championship. The season has gone really quickly and I can’t wait for the next one to begin!
Lorenzo Zanetti - 5th
Fifth place is not bad but I lost a lot of time in the first three laps trying to get past Russo. When I did that, the group with Michael had gone and I needed to be there to fight for the podium. Also, towards the end of the race my rear grip dropped off and this has been a problem. I spent the rest of the race alone, which wasn’t positive. However, the season has been positive and my feeling with the bike has improved so I think we can look forward to the next season with a lot of confidence.