As the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship makes its way to Europe this month, riders, teams and circuits are gearing up for two weeks of non-stop action. Yesterday TT Circuit Assen officially presented the Dutch Round taking place in just two weeks’ time, with the presence of local hero Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team).
Van der Mark has started the season in style, with a second place in Thailand his joint-best result in WorldSBK. But at Assen the Dutchman wants to go one further for the home crowd. “This year we are a lot more competitive than last year, and Assen is one of my favourite tracks”, explains the Pata Yamaha rider. “I feel really good with the Yamaha, we’ve made some big improvements, and the new technical regulations are working quite well for us, for everybody in WorldSBK the racing is much closer. Hopefully in Assen we can close the gap to the front – I want to win in Assen.”
Running in front of your home crowd can be an intimidating experience for some riders, but van der Mark believes he can handle the pressure. “I’ve come here for many years, and every year I get asked the same question. Of course, there’s a lot of pressure – but I’m lucky to be able to put pressure into a good result, that’s what’s happened in the last few years. I can handle the pressure and deliver, and hopefully we can do this again this year.
The Dutch rider has scored three third place finishes in three WorldSBK seasons at Assen, along with a win during his championship winning season in WorldSSP. For Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team manager Kervin Bos, Van der Mark is the man to beat. “He’s always flying here on the WorldSBK round, we have seen that in the past. But I hope we are the guys to beat him.”
Re-live Van der Mark’s impressive performance in Thailand, and get ready as WorldSBK disembarks in Europe next week, all with the WorldSBK VideoPass