VAN DER MARK DOUBLE DUTCH DELIGHT IN RACE 2 AT ASSEN
Local hero Michael van der Mark gave the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team and the passionate Dutch fans something to celebrate on Sunday at Round 4 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship. After finishing Saturday’s Race 1 in second place, he stormed to another podium in Race 2, crossing the line in third to record his best ever WorldSBK weekend in terms of results.
Local hero Van der Mark secured a sensational podium on Saturday, setting the fastest lap of Race 1 as he charged from seventh on the grid to cross the line in second, just missing out on the race win by 0.981s after an excellent duel with Jonathan Rea – the closest the Pata Yamaha team have come to victory since their return to WorldSBK in 2016. This saw him start Race 2 from eighth on the grid but after a blistering start, he was, incredibly, up to third by the end of the just the first lap. Once again, he would become involved in another superb battle with championship leader Rea – this time for second – that ran until the final few laps.
The 25-year-old Dutch rider was biding his time and saving his tyres to engage Rea like he did in Race 1 in a fight towards the end but during the final stages, he suffered from a small technical issue with his Pata Yamaha R1 that saw his challenge for second fade. Instead, he took the chequered flag in a sensational third place with the grandstands in Assen erupting once more for the man from Rotterdam as he secured his best ever points haul from a WorldSBK weekend. In the process, he also recorded the Pata Yamaha Team’s – and the new generation Yamaha YZF-R1’s – first ever double podium during a race weekend. The 2014 WorldSSP Champion is now looking like a serious contender and is fourth in the overall standings with 103 points, just 12 behind Marco Melandri in third.
Michael van der Mark: “I am really happy to have secured a double podium! Yesterday, I was quite close to Jonny fighting for victory and I was really happy with that. I was hoping today we could repeat it and, coming from eighth place on the grid, I had a good start and a good first lap. To be honest, I struggled a bit compared to yesterday. I think the temperature went up a bit and I was struggling a little with the front grip and my pace wasn’t as good as yesterday, so I was a bit worried. Jonny passed me and the best thing I could do was follow him, so I did that, felt good and thought we might have another nice battle but during the last few laps, we had a small issue with the bike which meant I couldn’t fight with him. Anyway, it has been an incredible weekend, we have been fast from the start. We have had amazing weather, amazing crowds, so I have really enjoyed my home race and I am really happy to go home with my two trophies. I am looking forward to Imola but first, we hope to have a good test in Brno. We have a few ideas to try with the bike there and then it is Imola. I think we have a good base setup with the bike and hopefully, Imola will confirm that. If we can find a bit of extra speed at Brno then we will be able to fight at the front again in front of Yamaha’s Italian fans.”
Coming off back-to-back races, the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team now head to Brno at the weekend to conduct a private test, before returning to action at Round 5 of the WorldSBK Championship in Imola on the 11-13th of May.