COMPETITIVE START TO DUTCH ROUND FOR THE HONDA WORLDSBK TEAM
It has been a rainy opening day of action for the Honda WorldSBK Team at the TT Circuit Assen, the venue hosting the fourth round of the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship. In the combined times of today’s two one-hour free practice sessions, Nicky Hayden and Michael van der Mark have claimed a fifth and a ninth place, respectively. Therefore, both riders are seeded directly into tomorrow morning’s Superpole 2, taking place at 10:55 local time (GMT +2).
Michael van der Mark had a not-so-easy start to his home round compared to his teammate: the 23-year-old from Rotterdam crashed unhurt once per session, both times at turn 10. The second tumble happened due to the sudden worsening of track conditions towards the end of free practice two. Despite the late incident, the 1’54.280 lap-time set by the Dutch rider this afternoon proved to be quick enough for what is a very important top 10-finish ahead of Superpole.
Michael van der Mark (9th / 1’54.280): “Today went OK. It has been a long time since I last rode in the wet but my confidence was high, maybe a bit too much as I ended up on the gravel at turn 10. The bike was badly damaged, but the guys managed to get it fixed so quickly that I was back on track for the last ten minutes. So, a big thanks to them. On my last lap I even improved and the bike felt great. In the afternoon I knew the track was drying so I kept pushing, but towards the end it started raining again and I made a silly mistake, as I didn’t take into account that on the second part of the track the asphalt was wetter. The crash was very similar to the morning one, but fortunately this time I had virtually no damage to the bike. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, we’re in Superpole 2 and that’s what matters.”