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  |   News Racing

Michael van der Mark and the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team got off to a stunning start on Friday at Round 4 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship at a hot and sunny Assen. It is always a special occasion for Michael van der Mark to race at his home round in front of the passionate Dutch fans and he gave them something to celebrate by topping the overall timesheets with a superb 1:35.156.

Van der Mark put on a superb display for the passionate Dutch fans that packed the TT Circuit Assen on Friday with the historic circuit bathed in sunshine and track temperatures rising to 37°C. The 25-year-old from Rotterdam was a permanent fixture in the top three on the combined timesheets throughout the day and got off to a blistering start after setting a 1:35.931 to end FP1 in second place. During FP2, wary of using up his tyre allowance, he focused on using the harder rear tyre and showed excellent consistency, with every lap in the 1:36s. In FP3, the 2014 WorldSSP Champion completed a long run and then continued to work on his race pace on the likely race specification tyre, before heading out at the end of the session and lighting up the timing screens in spectacular fashion to record a 1:35.156 and finish 0.243s ahead of the field. Happy with the work completed on Friday, van der Mark now heads into Saturday confident he will be able to challenge at the front during SP2 and Race 1.

Michael van der Mark: “I am really happy with today, I enjoyed it and the team and bike worked well! We started this morning with a very good feeling, we had some small areas we needed to improve, so I was quite happy with my R1 from the start. Then in the second session, we tried to solve a slight grip issue I was having and we found quite a good solution but we decided to use only a hard tyre to see if we could make it work, so, the second session wasn’t really the best one. Anyway, we knew we would have some new tyres in FP3 so I did a long run and felt okay. I was losing a bit of time in some areas but towards the end of the long run, we managed to improve it with some adjustments. Then we went for a hot lap and I was really surprised with the time and I am really happy to finish Friday in first position.”

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team return to action at Round 4 of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship at Assen on Saturday at 8:45 am (CEST) for FP4, with SP2 due to kick off at 10:55 am, and the 21-lap Race 1 scheduled for 1 pm. Check out the combined timesheets from Friday at the TT Circuit Assen.

Check out the combined timesheets from Friday at the TT Circuit Assen