PATA YAMAHA BATTLE BACK IN BURIRAM RACE 1
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team fought hard in the hot and humid conditions at the Chang International Circuit during Race 1 on Saturday for Round 2 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship in Thailand. Michael van der Mark got a solid start from tenth on the grid before enjoying another superb battle with his teammate and the front group, eventually finishing in seventh after he suffered from a lack of grip towards the end of the race.
Van der Mark ended Friday’s practice in seventh overall and he impressed in the morning’s FP4 session to finish in fifth with a 1:33.643. The 25-year-old Dutch rider showed good improvement in SP2 and qualified for Race 1 at the head of the fourth row in tenth after shaving another couple of tenths off his best time to set a 1:33.373. When the lights went out for Race 1, the 2014 WorldSSP Champion got a solid start but did not quite have the same sensation with his R1 under braking as he had enjoyed throughout the weekend. Focusing on trying to find a good rhythm, he showed incredible consistency throughout the race, with every lap apart from the first in the low to mid 1:34’s.
Fighting his way through the pack, he was up to seventh by lap six and then passed Marco Melandri for sixth on lap ten, only to find himself in another stunning scrap with his teammate Lowes. Passing each other a number of times, the two Pata Yamaha riders put on a show for the passionate Thai fans before van der Mark’s grip levels started to fade at the end of the race. Battling hard, he tried to keep with Lowes as best he could and chase down the riders in front but, unfortunately, he could not make any inroads into the gap to Sykes ahead. Crossing the line in a creditable seventh position, van der Mark secured nine championship points which sees him eighth in the overall standings with 25 points. He will start Sunday’s Race 2 from fourth on the grid and, he is confident if he can make some small improvements to his Pata Yamaha R1 he will have the race pace to battle for the podium.
Michael van der Mark: “I had to start from 10th on the grid and had quite a good start, but nothing special. To be honest, right from when the lights went out I was struggling under braking and with my grip levels and so it was quite difficult to race. I managed to be quite consistent, so I was really happy with that and we knew it was going to be a really tight race, so we had to be very consistent and not make any mistakes. I started to close the gap to the guys in front of me step by step and I had another great battle with Alex but towards the end, unfortunately, I started to struggle really badly under braking and I could not follow him anymore. This gives us something to work on for tomorrow and let’s see what we can do in the race from P4 on the grid!”