SEVENTH PLACE FOR VAN DER MARK IN OPENING DAY OF ACTION AT SEPANG
Michael van der Mark got an encouraging start to the Malaysian WorldSBK round by finishing in seventh place in the combined classification of today’s two free practice sessions contested at the Sepang International Circuit. Therefore, the Honda WorldSBK rider will begin his battle for pole position directly from Superpole 2, which is scheduled for tomorrow at 13:55 local time (GMT +8). The morning session saw Van der Mark in fourth place as the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine proved to be competitive straight away on the track which only three weeks ago was fully resurfaced with changes made to the camber of some corners.
With dark clouds getting closer to the circuit, free practice 2 started in dry conditions but halfway into the session, drops of rain started to fall on sector two, which forced the majority of riders back into the pits. The rain stopped quite quickly, meaning riders could make the most of the remaining thirty minutes of track time before the chequered flag. Van der Mark improved his position and, with a 2’04.385 lap-time, he was 0.434secs off the lead, although only two tenths of a second away from his teammate.
Michael van der Mark (7th / 2’04.385): “This morning we went out on track not knowing what to expect, as the whole circuit has been recently resurfaced. We had to find out how it was and in some areas it was quite tricky, because water was seeping through the asphalt. I immediately got a good feeling with the bike and step by step we were able to get quicker. This afternoon we made some small changes, nothing major really, and I felt I could have been faster in my last outing before the chequered flag. Nevertheless, I’m happy with the bike and how it well it handles; the only thing we need to work on is our race pace, to make sure the tyre can last until the end.”