VAN DER MARK READY FOR ITALIAN CHALLENGE
Michael van der Mark is preparing himself with his Pata Honda team for this weekend’s (8-10 May) fifth-round World Superbike championship event at Imola in Italy and is aiming to continue the forward strides made last time out. Van der Mark took a brace of third-place rostrum finishes in his home round at Assen in the Netherlands three weeks ago, his maiden visit to the World Superbike podium with the Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP in his rookie season. The 22-year-old Dutch rider, who won last season’s World Supersport championship, had already shown his potential by leading in the opening round in Australia but demonstrated in abundance his individual talent and the undoubted potential of his CBR’s performance package at Assen. And also important, Van der Mark has visited the Imola podium in previous races.
Michael van der Mark: “I actually got to Italy a few days early so I’ve been relaxing and driving around and enjoyed a visit to San Marino. It was fairly quiet after the busy weekend at Assen, but it was good to meet some fans at the Ten Kate Pitstop Day the following Saturday, even though the weather wasn’t very kind. I’m really looking forward to getting back into action at Imola though. I really like the circuit but I know it will be very different on a Superbike than it was on my CBR600RR from last year. I hope we can make the Fireblade work as well here as Jonathan Rea made it work last season, but we have quite different settings, so it won’t be easy. But we definitely found something really positive at Assen, working together as a team and analyzing the data, so we’ll be looking for more this weekend in Italy.”