Dutch rider just misses out on third WorldSBK win but shows Yamaha bike is the real deal at Misano
One could have forgiven Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) for having a split-second flashback to 2017 when he took the lead at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli today, especially when the long figure of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Official WorldSBK Team) appeared in his wingmirror. One year ago, the Yamaha rider had defended impressively his Race One lead from the Kawasaki, but he lost his opportunity of taking his first race win as he crashed out due to a tyre issue.
That was then: a year on, the Dutchman is a completely different rider. A race winner, for one; but also, a regular rostrum finisher. Van der Mark proved his mettle yet again in Rimini on Sunday, holding on to the race lead until just three laps were remaining. Rea’s ZX-10RR was ultimately the better bike, but the Yamaha man did hang on to second place until the flag whilst under pressure from Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
It was anything but plain sailing for the Yamaha rider, especially at the lights: “My start wasn’t really as good as I wanted, but I followed Fores for a couple of laps, and then I think he had a problem. To be honest, I wasn’t really happy with my pace during the race, but I saw on the big screen that Rea, Davies and Melandri had a big fight, so I tried to stay as consistent as possible and try to pull away.”.
Van der Mark was caught and passed by Rea with just three laps on the clock, denying him a third win in WorldSBK. The Dutch rider tried to fight back, but quickly accepted that defending second place was the better course of action: “We had quite a similar pace at the end, I tried to overtake him but I didn’t want to do anything stupid. At the end I must be happy with second place, and I’m really happy that throughout the weekend we improved the bike in every single session”.
Van der Mark has now managed to open a 30-point gap in third position from Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), while not losing any distance from second in the standings. An enviable position to enter the summer, as he himself admits: “I’m really happy to go into the summer break with a strong position. Chaz is not far away, but I think we should focus on the guys behind me and stay in third place. We can relax a bit, and then be ready for the last part of the championship”.
Relive van der Mark’s performance and all the action from the last round before the summer break thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.