VAN DER MARK HAPPY WITH FURTHER PROGRESS IN PORTUGAL
Pata Honda rider Michael van der Mark produced two solid results in today’s two seventh-round World Superbike championship races at Portimao in Portugal. Race one was interrupted by rain with just six laps remaining. Van der Mark was recovering from an earlier electronics glitch and an off-track excursion that had left the 22-year-old Dutch rider down in 19th place. The Dutchmen pitted his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine for wet tyres on lap 14 and resumed the race in strong position: a hard-earned ninth.
The second 20-lap race at the 4.592km Autodromo Internacional do Algarve was run in dry conditions. Van der Mark fought his way through the field from 13th place on the grid to join his team-mate Sylvain Guintoli who was once more fighting for fifth place. Van der Mark settled in behind Guintoli and both riders passed Tom Sykes and Jordi Torres towards the end of the race, with the Dutch rider taking fifth place at the flag after a last corner pass on his French team-mate.
The Pata Honda World Superbike team will remain at Portimao tomorrow for an official one-day test ahead of round eight of the championship which takes place at Misano in Italy on 19-21 June.
Michael van der Mark (9th and 5th): “I was a bit held up at the beginning of race one and I was not really fast enough, but it was getting better and better. I closed the gap to the group in front of me but then I had an electrical problem and after a couple of laps I had to switch the bike off and on again to re-set it. It worked OK after that but then I made a mistake and went off the track and then it started raining! The pitstop was quite OK and the last couple of laps was just about surviving because the grip was not there, but I was happy to get some points. I had a better start in race two and then there was a gap to Sylvain which I was able to close quite fast. I had quite good pace and just stayed behind him because I wanted to take some more points. Then we both came to Tom Sykes and Jordi Torres who had some problems and we passed them at the same time. Then in the last corner I did a big overtake on Sylvain and got some more points!”