VAN DER MARK EXTENDS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD IN PORTUGAL
Pata Honda’s Michael van der Mark goes into a World Supersport championship summer break with a healthy points lead after taking his fourth win of the season in round eight at the Autodromo Internacional Algarve in Portugal today. Starting from second place on the grid, the 21-year-old Dutch ace took his Honda CBR600RR into the lead after six of a scheduled 18-laps and then controlled the race before rain brought out red flags on the 13th lap. Jack Kennedy on another Honda CBR600RR finished second today, ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu, who was third. Van der Mark extended his remarkable podium run that has seen him finish no lower than second for the last seven races and, with his main championship rival, Jules Cluzel, failing to score today, he enjoys a 53-point lead at the top of the table. The World Supersport series now takes an extended nine-week break over the summer months, returning to Jerez in Spain on 5-7 September. However, both Pata Honda riders will travel to Japan this week to test for Honda in preparation for the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour race which takes place on 27 July.
Michael van der Mark: “We’ve been strong all weekend in all sessions and, together with Kenan Sofuoglu, I think we have been a step ahead of the others here. My start was OK but I didn’t want to take all the risks in the first few corners. I was looking at the guys in front of me to see where I was stronger and I tried to pass them one by one. Kenan made a mistake so I passed him and then I got past Jack. I knew I had a good pace for the race and the others would struggle to follow my rhythm and in the end I saw that Jules Cluzel wasn’t in the points any more so I slowed down a bit. I guess I was quite lucky that the rain came at the same point and the red flag came out, which made the win a little bit easier. But I think I could have won anyway because we have been so strong all weekend. I want to thank the team again for giving me such a good CBR from the first session, it was really fast and had really good handling.”
Pieter Breddels (technical co-ordinator): “Michael fought his way to the front and was extending his lead before the rain arrived. In the end he won while his closest rival did not score today and this is a great cushion to go into the break with. Compliments to his team as well for sticking with plan A as far as tyre choice is concerned. They all did a great job this weekend.”