WSBK

Pata Honda team heads home to Holland

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The Pata Honda team is gearing up for this weekend‰Ûªs fourth-round World Superbike championship races at Assen in the Netherlands with riders Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark on their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machines.

The historic 4.542km TT Circuit at Assen is just 70km from the Pata Honda workshop at Nieuwleusen and the Dutch round is traditionally the busiest of the year for the team with many guests, colleagues, friends and family members visiting.

However, in the coming days, Guintoli, van der Mark and their respective crews will be intently focused on improving results and targeting a visit to the World Superbike podium that has eluded the team in the opening three rounds of the 2015 season.

Assen is a happy hunting ground for both Pata Honda riders, with reigning champion Guintoli scoring his first World Superbike victory in a wet race at the circuit in 2012. The 32-year-old French rider took his second Assen win at the corresponding round last season.

"There is no disguising the fact that results have not been what we wanted so far and we‰Ûªve had a difficult start to the season." Guintoli said. "But the whole team is working really hard and totally focused on improving the results.

"We seem to be able to get into good lap times quite quickly but then we find it more difficult to get those last few tenths that really matter. But the fact that this is the team‰Ûªs home round will focus our efforts even more because it‰Ûªs important to get good results and it‰Ûªs always special to get to the podium in front of friends and family at a home race.

"Whatever happens, we‰Ûªll all be working hard to put on a good show.

This weekend is also the home round for van der Mark, 22, who took his debut World Supersport laurels at Assen last year on his way to the 2014 title. The Dutch ace will be hoping for a similar World Superbike debut in the Netherlands this weekend.

"I‰Ûªm feeling quite confident ahead of the home race for me and the team and I‰Ûªm really looking forward to it." Van der Mark admitted. "We know from results in previous years that, without a really long straight, Assen suits the CBR a little better than other circuits but we‰Ûªre still going to have to work as hard as we can and do our very best to get the most out of the package.

"It would be so good to be able to challenge for the podium but we have to be realistic because I‰Ûªm still learning in this class. Your home race is always really special and it‰Ûªs going to be a very busy weekend.

"But it‰Ûªs only once a year and I‰Ûªve got somewhere to go and chill when I need to!"

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