VAN DER MARK MATCHES P1 PACE ON BITTERLY COLD OPENING DAY IN ASSEN
Less than a second separated the top 12 riders on the timesheet after a bitterly cold opening day at the TT Circuit Assen. Michael van der Mark ended the day fifth fastest only 0.03 seconds from P1. Van der Mark kept his home crowd entertained during FP1, as the only Dutch rider on the WorldSBK grid pushed to try and depose reigning world champion, Jonathan Rea, from the top of the timesheet. In the end the Pata Yamaha rider fell short by little more than a tenth of a second but was happy to close out the opening session in second place. Changes to the to his R1 for the second 50-minute session this afternoon didn’t bring significant improvements, but after further adjustments van der Mark was able to consistently improve his lap times to finish in fifth position, and just 0.031s from the top spot.
Michael van der Mark – Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P5 – 1’35.445: “It’s not ideal to be riding in such cold conditions as we had here today, not just for us but also for the tyres. It means you have to be a bit careful the first few laps but, overall, I’m quite happy with today. This morning I felt good on the bike and, on the last run, I improved my lap time a lot and it was clear what we needed to improve for the second session this afternoon. We made some changes to the bike for FP2, but this didn’t bring the improvement we were expecting, so we reverted back to a set-up closer to the one we ran this morning and I immediately felt better. I was struggling a little on corner exit, as the bike wanted to wheelie out of the turns, so we’ll need to look at that during FP3 tomorrow. The times are very close and I was able to put together some consistent laps, so I’m happy enough with the first day here in Assen.”