Following the news that Michael van der Mark will leave the Pata Yamaha squad, it’s time to look back at the collaboration that was full of great memories
After four years competing with PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team, Michael van der Mark is leaving the team at the end of the 2020 season. WorldSBK.com is looking at five of the best races the Dutch star had with Yamaha throughout their time together in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship; from first wins to big achievements, every ground is covered.
Donington Park 2018, Race 1: Claiming Yamaha’s first victory since their return to WorldSBK
Yamaha returned to WorldSBK action in 2016 and it took two years before they stood on the top step of the podium; van der Mark claiming an unlikely victory Race 1 at Donington Park. He fought his way past the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK duo of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes before making his move for the lead count, holding on from a charging Rea in the closing stages of the race to take the first WorldSBK victory of his career.
Donington Park 2018, Race 2: Doubling up: van der Mark makes it two from two at Donington
Neither van der Mark nor Yamaha would have to wait long for another trip to the top step of the podium as another victory followed the very next day. Starting ninth in Race 2, van der Mark ran at the front alongside then Yamaha teammate Alex Lowes after battling his way through the field; but had to fend off a rapid Rea in the latter stages of the race. He was able to do so, claiming two victories for Yamaha. If Race 1’s win was a surprise, Race 2’s victory was an even bigger shock.
Assen 2019, Race 2: Home podium after sensational battle with Rea
Home races for riders are always special and to stand on the podium at your home race is an extra special feeling; especially after a titanic battle with the reigning Champion. Second place in Race 2 secured a double podium at the TT Circuit Assen for van der Mark after an epic last lap battle between himself and Jonathan Rea; the Dutch rider holding on to second place after a drag race to the line separated the pair by just 0.018s, getting a packed front straight grandstand rising to its feet.
Jerez 2019, Race 2: Taking victory in Jerez for the third win of his career
Van der Mark’s third career victory came in the second race at Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, where he showed scintillating pace during the race. Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista crashed, meaning the Spanish rider, who had been dominant until that point in 2019, was out of contention. The pivotal moment for Michael came with a pass on reigning Champion Rea with just a handful of laps to go and the Dutchman’s pace meant he was uncatchable during the latter part of the race as he claimed victory in Jerez, the same track he won the 2014 WorldSSP title at.
Portimao 2017, Race 2: Claiming the first podium with Yamaha
Like a first victory, the first podium is always a special moment and for van der Mark, his first podium with Yamaha came at the Portuguese Round in Race 2, 2017. Despite being six seconds behind race winner Rea, his place on the podium never looked under threat as he pulled out an unassailable gap to claim second place by almost 3.5s ahead of Ducati’s Marco Melandri.
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