VAN DER MARK SIXTH IN RACE 2 AT JEREZ
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team rounded off a superb weekend in Jerez by completing another double top-six finish in a dramatic restarted Race 2, on a gloriously sunny Sunday at the penultimate round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. Michael van der Mark led in both the original and restarted race, getting involved in a number of spectacular battles with the leading riders before crossing the line in sixth after suffering from a loss of rear grip late on.
Completing a Yamaha 1-2 on the grid, van der Mark got a blistering start from second in the original race and led until the red flag appeared. In Race 2 he managed to grab the holeshot again, leading for the majority of the first lap before Rea passed him. He then became involved in one of the best battles of the season with Melandri, with both riders passing each other repeatedly in an enthralling fight that lasted for more than five laps. The 24-year-old Dutch rider got the better of the Italian, until Melandri made contact with him in Turn 9 with nine laps to go, forcing him wide.
Soon afterwards he made a small mistake as he started to suffer from a lack of rear grip, allowing Sykes through and dropping down to sixth, but the 2014 World Supersport champion once again rode maturely to ensure that, despite struggling in the last few laps as his grip issue worsened, he brought his Pata Yamaha R1 home in a superb sixth to add to his fifth-place finish in Race 1.
This sees van der Mark sixth in the championship standings with 210 points, just 16 behind his teammate, and full of confidence heading into the final round in Qatar.
Michael van der Mark: “I had a really good first start and took the holeshot but then the red flag came out and we had to wait. I had another good start in the restarted race, I was leading the first lap before Jonathan Rea got past me. I tried to follow him but I was struggling. I had a better feeling with the softer front tyre but I couldn’t quite get the bike turned as well as the other guys. I had fought so hard to try and get the podium and I had some really nice battles but Marco Melandri made contact with me at Turn 9 and I ran wide, which allowed Alex to get past.”
“I then made another little mistake and Tom Sykes got past me as well and I just couldn’t quite match their pace. I tried so hard right until the end and it was difficult but we recorded another top-six finish and secured some good championship points. Hopefully, in Qatar, we can fight for the podium again and finish the season on a high. The team has made great progress this year! At the beginning of the season, we had some ups and downs and rounds where I was fast and others where Alex was fast. Now we come to every track and we are both fast, which shows how much amazing progress we have made and I think Qatar is a track that will suit the R1 as well, so hopefully, we can show our full potential there!”