Michael van der Mark described the imminent separation of his teammate Alex Lowes from the Yamaha World Superbike factory team as “a bit weird”.
Lowes is third in the current WSBK rankings, behind Jonathan Rea and Álvaro Bautista with four rounds of the remaining season, just five points behind teammate van der Mark, who won the only victory of the year. Yamaha in Jerez.
At the tests in Portimao last weekend, the British driver confirmed that he would leave the Yamaha team at the Crescent factory, where he has been flying since 2016.
“Unfortunately, I will not be part of the same team this year,” Lowes told WorldSBK.com. “Everything is in the air, I hope to hear from you in a few weeks.”
Van der Mark said the situation was difficult for him to understand, although he expressed hope that Lowes would stay in the Yamaha team with another team.
“It’s a bit strange because now he’s third in the championship,” van der Mark told Motorsport.com. “We have completely different driving styles and heights, but it’s pretty impressive that we’re still at a pretty similar level.”
“Sometimes I’m a little more consistent, but he’s faster in a lap, but in the end, it’s pretty similar, and we show that we both can better ride the Yamaha in this paddock.”
“Anyway, if you can stay with Yamaha in another team, nothing will change, we have a special relationship, and when we work together we are like best friends and I will miss him.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu is expected to replace Lowes and van der Mark next season. The Turk will appear in front of the Puccetti Kawasaki outfit.
Relations between Razgatlioglu and Kawasaki are thought to have deteriorated following the Suzuka 8 Hours in July when he remained on the sidelines while his team-mates Rea and Leon Haslam won Kawasaki’s first victory in the Japanese classic since 1993.
“The child has speed, he has a lot of talent,” said van der Mark of Razgatlioglu. “I’m curious to see, if that happens, how it will be on the bike.
“I always fight [sometimes at Yamaha], you’re aggressive for years, change is not easy, it’s difficult.”