VAN DER MARK FIGHTS FOR THE PODIUM IN ARAGON THRILLER
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider Michael van der Mark was involved in a titanic five-way battle for the podium in today’s 18-lap WorldSBK encounter in Aragon, missing out only due to deteriorating rear grip in the closing stages of the race. After a difficult Superpole session, in which he qualified only 11th on the grid, van der Mark and his crew took the chance on an untested set-up for the race. It was a gamble that paid off for the Pata Yamaha rider, who made a flying start from the third row, only to have to immediately shut off to avoid Markus Reiterberger, who crashed in front of him. By mid-race distance, van der Mark had caught the group fighting for second, but a drop off in rear grip in the closing stages of the race meant that he was unable to mount a challenge for the podium and he eventually finished sixth.
Michael van der Mark – Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P6: “We made some changes to the bike this morning, but we still didn’t find the right setting for me and that impacted on my Superpole performance. For the race we decided to take a bit of a gamble with the set-up and, even on the way to the grid, I knew it was one that would pay off. I got a good start, but then Reiterberger crashed right in front of me and I hit something, so I lost a bit of time there. Right from the start I had a better feeling with the bike and my pace was much better, but I was struggling on corner entry, with the rear locking and sliding a bit too much. It meant I could stay with the guys battling for second in front of me, but it was difficult to find somewhere to put in a pass. I tried a few times, but as soon as the grip dropped then I was struggling even more on corner entry and couldn’t maintain the pace. I lost a position at the end, which is a shame, but the positive is that we made a massive step with the bike and we’re in a much better position now for the two races tomorrow.”