VAN DER MARK BATTLES FOR THE PODIUM IN IMOLA THRILLER
Michael van der Mark scythed his way through the pack to finish fourth in a thrilling WorldSBK Race 1 in Imola today, with only a spirited ride by Toprak Razgatlioglu in the closing stages denying the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider his third podium finish of the season. Lining up eighth on the grid after a difficult Superpole qualifying session, van der Mark got one of his trademark lightning starts and had fought his way through to fourth on the opening lap, with teammate Lowes in close attendance behind. The two Pata Yamaha riders then rode in formation until Lowes made a pass for fourth on lap three, before having to surrender the position as the effects of his illness started to take their toll on his energy reserves.
Once back in front of his teammate the retirement of Tom Sykes at half race distance promoted van der Mark to third and into what would prove a titanic battle with Razgatlioglu and Leon Haslam for the final podium position. The Turkish rider made his move on lap 11, outbraking van der Mark into turn two to claim third position, which, despite a spirited challenge from the Pata Yamaha rider in the final two laps, he managed to defend to the line, leaving van der Mark to finish fourth. The Dutch rider was quick to congratulate Razgatlioglu, not just for the podium finish but also for the close but fair fight over the final few laps.
Michael van der Mark – Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P4: “Qualifying wasn’t as good as it could have been, meaning I started from position eight on the grid, which I wasn’t too happy about. But I got a great start, immediately making it through into fourth place and I felt not exactly great with the bike, but I had a good pace. Some guys were a little quicker, but I was just doing my thing and was involved in some really nice battles in the beginning. Towards the end I could see Toprak was closing in on me and he was eventually able to make a pass stick. I tried everything to stay with him, thinking he’d lose a little bit of pace in the closing laps and I could retake third, but he didn’t. I tried to put in a pass a couple of times anyway, but he defended really well and there was no way through. A podium in Imola would have been great but even so I’m pretty happy with this result and I’m sure we can improve the bike further ahead of the two races tomorrow.”