VAN DER MARK FINISHES ON TOP AT A DISMAL MAGNY-COURS
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider, Michael van der Mark, finished what was a damp and dismal opening day in France at the top of the timesheet, despite completing just 10 laps of the Magny-Cours circuit in FP1 and then sitting out a fully wet FP2.
The opening free practice this morning started on a fully wet track, although the rain had eased shortly before pit lane opened. With 15 minutes of the session remaining dry patches had started to appear around the 4.411km track, but not a continuous dry line. Van der Mark made the most of the slightly improved conditions to set the fastest time on his first run and then improving further on his second and final run.
With continuous rain and a fully wet track for this afternoon’s 50-minute free practice, van der Mark knew that nobody was going to improve his time from the morning and, with grip at the Magny-Cours track notoriously unpredictable, the Pata Yamaha rider opted to err on the side of caution and sit out the session.
Michael van der Mark – Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P1 – 1’51.852: “It’s been a bit of a strange day. This morning the track was wet at the start but already starting to dry up a little, so we waited quite a long time before going out. At the end it wasn’t dry, it wasn’t wet, and the track conditions were less than perfect, but I had a good feeling with the bike straight away. I didn’t really push for a time, but ended up quickest, so it was a good start to the day. This afternoon it started to rain a lot before the session, and it continued throughout. We waited to see if the conditions would improve, but they didn’t so we decided to sit out the session as I have a good feeling with the bike already and, anyway, the forecast is for dry conditions from tomorrow onwards.”