CHALLENGING SATURDAY RACE FOR VAN DER MARK AT THE LAUSITZRING
It was a mixed Saturday for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team at the Lausitzring for round nine of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship as Michael van der Mark suffered a loss of rear tyre pressure that saw him cross the line in 15th. Van der Mark had a great start during the race, but the rear tyre pressure loss – the reason for which is yet unknown – forced him to drop his pace significantly and he bravely bought his R1 home in 15th place.
Michael had to go through SP1 for only the third time in 2017 after he was unlucky with the timing of a red flag and the subsequent thunderstorm on Friday that saw him finish FP2 in 11th overall. The 24-year-old Dutch rider made a statement in SP1 as he went over 0.5s quicker than the rest of the field on a race tyre to finish the session in first and head into SP2 with his teammate Lowes.
He went onto qualify in the middle of the fourth row in 11th and then made a blistering start when Race 1 got underway, blasting his way past a number of riders to be up to eighth by the end of the first lap. While pushing to join the battle at the battle at the front, he ran off track on the second lap and had to rejoin in 16th. Undeterred, the former World Supersport Champion started to battle his way through the field, making it up to 11th before he started to lose pressure in his rear tyre.
As the tyre visually deflated, Van der Mark bravely carried on, despite advice to return to the pits and retire from the Pata Yamaha team, who were worried for his safety. Incredibly, he managed to bring his R1 home in 15th to salvage a championship point, despite the fact that by the time he reached parc fermé his tyre was completely flat. Van der Mark will, therefore, line up on the grid for Sunday’s Race 2 at the back of the fourth row in 12th, eager to make amends for today’s bad luck.
Van der Mark stays seventh in the standings with 130 points, just 10 points behind the rider in sixth place.
Michael van der Mark (15th +1:04.118): “To be honest I was happy with the way I made it out of SP1 into SP2. I went more than a second faster on my race tyre in SP1 than I had done so far, but in SP2 on the qualifying tyre, I didn’t have a great feeling. I think the rear was pushing the front, so I had to start from 11th on the grid. During the race, I had a good start but I started to struggle with the grip right from the early stages.
I then made a mistake, although I am not sure what really happened, I ran off track and then had to fight my way through the field. To be honest, while my pace was not fantastic, it was better than in practice. I just focused on maintaining this pace, but then I started to get slower and slower and the bike was moving around a lot. I just finished the race as every point is vital in this championship, but when I got back to parc fermé I realised I had a completely flat tyre. We obviously have to find out how this happened, which we will work on tonight, and I will give my best again in Race 2 tomorrow.”