VAN DER MARK EXTENDS SERIES LEAD BY WINNING SEPANG
Pata Honda rider Michael van der Mark took his third win of the season and his second in succession in today’s sixth-round World Supersport championship race at Sepang in Malaysia, extending his championship lead to 33 points at the mid-point of the season. With temperatures in the mid-30s, the 21-year-old Dutch flyer had a good start on his Honda CBR600RR from the front row of the grid. In the opening laps he kept pace with today’s other two podium finishers Kenan Sofuoglu and Jules Cluzel before taking the lead from Sofuoglu on the eighth lap. Van der Mark opened a gap but it was bridged in the closing stages by Cluzel who took the lead on the last lap before running a little wide at Sepang’s final corner. The Pata Honda rider held a tighter line, however, and took victory with a winning margin of just 0.018s.
Michael van der Mark: “It’s been a great weekend for my first visit to Malaysia – I love this track and I love this country! From the first practice we were quite fast and yesterday morning in FP3 we showed that we had a really good race pace. I qualified third and my start was quite good, although I braked a bit too early for turn one. I saw I could follow Sofuoglu and Cluzel and got into quite a safe rhythm but they were a bit slower so, after six or seven laps, I passed them and tried to go away. I had a gap of almost one second but the tyre was finished so I couldn’t push any harder and I didn’t want to take any risks. I heard Jules Cluzel and knew he would try to overtake me again. I was lucky in the last corner and held a really tight line. My exit wasn’t great but I just won on the finish line. I’m really thankful to the team because they didn’t have any experience here and we worked so fast, and the bike was great!”
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator: “It was hot today and we had another fantastic race with a group of five which included both Michael and Lorenzo. In the end Michael got into the lead and he managed to build a gap but his main rival, Cluzel, was closing in on him. In the last lap we had a big battle and Michael forced Cluzel into a mistake and he took a tiny lead to the finish. Another victory gives him a good lead in the championship and it’s going really well for him.”