Pata Yamaha rider begins Assen weekend with a bang
“I’m here to win". He was loud and clear at the presentation of the MOTUL Dutch Round two weeks ago at Assen, but just in case Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) made his intentions known in Free Practice 3. The Dutch rider hadn’t led a free practice session yet during this season of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, but a fiery run with three minutes to go put van der Mark head and shoulders above the competition on Friday.
Assen is a couple of hours away from his hometown of Gouda, enough for van der Mark to feel like the warmth from the crowd. The morning session already saw a strong start from the Dutchman. “Already in the first session I felt strong, I had a good pace, there were just some small areas in which I wanted to improve the bike”, explained van der Mark. “Second session, we tried to make the bike work with the hard tyre but it didn’t really work. In the third session I did a long run, which was quite good. I was missing a little bit of pace though. Anyway, after the long run I managed to go out and set a really good lap time. I’m really happy with the bike, there are just some small things we need to fix, overall every sector I’m quite strong. If we can fix the small things, we can fight for the podium tomorrow”.
Van der Mark has three third-place finishes here in WorldSBK. While he doesn’t see himself as the favourite, the Yamaha man is still adamant to fight for the top spot: “If we finish the same as today we can (win). You know, it’s really tough, Johnny [Rea] is really strong here, he has a really good pace. As long as we can stay up with him, we can fight for a victory. Podium is my goal, but of course I want to win”.
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