SOLID OPENING DAY FOR VAN DER MARK IN PORTIMAO
Michael van der Mark enjoyed a solid start to Round 10 of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão today. The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team rider proved fast and consistent in all three of the practice sessions today, ending in eighth position overall despite a minor crash at turn five late in the afternoon.
Already a technical and demanding track, mastering the 4.6km Portimão circuit was complicated further today by high temperatues, with conditions changing significantly for each of the three 40-minute free practice sessions.
Van der Mark adapted quickly to the changing conditions, impressing with his consistent pace throughout free practice. If the 25-year-old Dutch rider can increase his outright pace to secure a starting position on the front two rows of the grid then he is confident that this consistency will pay dividends in tomorrow’s 20-lap WorldSBK race, which will be held during the hottest part of the day.
Michael van der Mark: “The result today is not really where we should be because, when I went out with the new tyres in the last session I crashed at turn five and wasn’t able to improve my lap time. The track changed quite a lot for the three sessions today, as the temperature increased, and while we weren’t the fastest in any of the sessions we were really consistent, which is important looking forward to tomorrow’s race. I am pretty sure that I can improve my lap time further on new tyres tomorrow, but for me the most important thing is that we are consistently fast and, if we can find a few tenths tomorrow, then we’ll definitely be ready to race.”
Van der Mark will be back on track for the fourth and final free practice session at 08.45 local time tomorrow morning, with Superpole 2 scheduled to get underway in much warmer conditions at 10.55.