Dutch rider secures his debut podium with Yamaha
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) ended his weekend at the Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round on a high as he stood on the podium for the first time with Yamaha, taking second position with a strong pace around the Portimao circuit.
Struggling to take a top five finish in Saturday’s race one the Dutch rider started on the front row in race two under the new grid reshuffling rules. Getting a steady start in the 20 lap race, the 24 year old was soon able to get into a comfortable pace and began setting lap times faster than the riders behind him, meaning he was secure in his third position battle.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)’s crash in the closing laps left van der Mark in a lucky position, as he was able to move into second position and take the podium finish in front of the Portuguese fans.
“It’s amazing to finish on the podium,” beamed van der Mark. “We have had so much bad luck this year, we have struggled with the set up of the bike and this weekend it wasn’t easy, but I knew I had quite a good pace, and starting from P2 helped me a lot. In the opening laps I was lacking some rear grip and I couldn’t stay up with the front guys, but then I found my pace and it was a really difficult race, I didn’t feel good on my bike, I was stronger than the guys behind me, I got a bit lucky with Chaz’s crash and I want to say thanks to the team.”
Keep up with van der Mark’s pace at the post race test on Monday, as he continues to work on his YZF R1’s pace, all on the WorldSBK VideoPass and WorldSBK.com.