ON FORM VAN DER MARK FIGHTS FOR VICTORY IN PORTIMAO RACE 2
Third in World Superbike Race 1 yesterday, Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team rider Michael van der Mark went one better today, with a superlative ride to second place after a tremendous battle at the front of the field in Race 2 at Portimão.
Starting seventh on the grid following his third place yesterday, van der Mark settled quickly into the race before starting his push towards the front on the third of 20 laps. The 25-year-old eventually forced his way through to fourth, and then closed on the podium group by mid-race distance.
With eight laps to go van der Mark took advantage of an attack by Marco Melandri on Chaz Davies and made an incredible pass on both on the inside exiting turn one. The Pata Yamaha rider then made a concerted effort to chase down championship and race leader Jonathan Rea, narrowing the gap to less than half a second, but finally the gap proved insurmountable in the laps remaining. Van der Mark took the chequered flag in second place to secure his ninth podium finish of the season and maintains third in the championship standings with 284 points, but now just 20 points behind second-placed Davies with six races remaining.
Michael van der Mark: “I didn’t get the best of starts, but I stayed calm because I knew the grip levels would be low with the track temperature going up a lot. We’d changed the bike a little bit to compensate for this and it felt quite good from the start. Step-by-step I made my way through to the front and I was able to run pretty much the same pace as Johnny, Chaz and Marco. But then Marco and Chaz got into a battle with each other and I was able to take advantage of them both running wide out of turn one to pass them for second place. I tried to catch Johnny, but he just had a little bit more pace than me in the closing stages of the race. Anyway, another podium is an amazing way to end what has been a great weekend for me and my team, and we will keep pushing next time in France.”