TOP-5 FOR VAN DER MARK IN FIRST WORLDSBK RACE OF 2019
Michael van der Mark declared himself satisfied with fifth position today in the first WorldSBK race of 2019 at Phillip Island, having had to contend with rapidly deteriorating grip in the closing stages of the race. Van der Mark adopted a cautious approach for the opening laps, in a bid to conserve his tyres for the latter stages of the race, but the 26-year-old upped his pace to try and stay with Marco Melandri when the Italian passed him for seventh position just before half race distance. The two riders then managed to make up further places by passing first Toprak Razgatlioglu and then Tom Sykes, after which Van der Mark was forced to let Melandri go and settle for fifth position, having experienced a severe drop off in rear grip.
Michael van der Mark – Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P5: “We knew it was going to be a long race today, and one in which we needed to take care of the tyres quite a lot. I went really careful the first few laps and found a really nice rhythm that didn’t stress the tyres a lot. It was difficult, because you really want to push harder but you can’t if you want to actually finish the race. I saw Marco had good pace when he passed me, so I stayed with him and was hoping to be in the fight for the podium at the end, which didn’t happen. Anyway, we can be happy with fifth and the points today after struggling a bit in the test here and after what was a tricky tactical race.”