VAN DER MARK HEADS WORLDSBK FIELD ON DAY ONE IN THAILAND
The first day of action for round two of the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship has drawn to a close at Chang International Circuit in Thailand for the Honda WorldSBK Team. At the end of Friday’s two free practice sessions, Michael van der Mark sat on top of the timesheets, while Nicky Hayden claimed a very encouraging sixth place in what was his very first day of riding at the Thai venue. Both riders will spearhead Honda’s attack for pole position tomorrow directly from Superpole 2.
Michael van der Mark took a safe approach to the morning session, given the less-than-ideal conditions of the track. As free practice one progressed and the asphalt gained more grip and cleaned up, the 23-year-old Dutchman got up to speed aboard his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP, eventually ending up fourth. In the afternoon, the 2014 WorldSSP Champion and his crew managed to make an important step forward in terms of bike setup, which translated in the first place in the combined times courtesy of an impressive 1’34.629s lap-time.
Michael van der Mark – 1st / 1’34.629: “I’m very happy with how today has been. In the morning, the track was quite dirty so I decided not to take any unnecessary risks at the beginning. It was almost impossible to be consistent given the conditions, but obviously it was the same for everyone. In the end I was able to make up some positions, although the result was not exactly what I was looking for. We made a lot of changes to the bike before the afternoon and from the first moment I felt much more comfortable. Later on, we made another big change that turned out to be a good one and then the fast laps started to come. With some small further adjustments, we were able to move up to first place on the final lap and that was it. As I said I’m really happy and looking forward to tomorrow morning; we will use this little time to focus more on our race pace.”