Dutchman back in top-5 in Race 2 at Laguna Seca following great start off grid
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) bounced back on Sunday from a rare foray outside the top-5 in Race 1, taking fifth in the second race of the GEICO US Round. The Dutchman was surpassed again by his teammate Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) in Race 2, but nonetheless put on a strong performance and secured vital points to strengthen his third place in the championship standings.
After a great start, which saw the Dutchman rise to second from fifth on the grid, van der Mark couldn’t quite find the pace to take Eugene Laverty’s (Milwaukee Aprilia) lead in the opening laps. The Yamaha rider was never far off a podium spot, but the battle with his teammate inevitably caught most of the Dutchman’s focus, and van der Mark was ultimately passed by Lowes with two laps remaining.
It was a nice change of pace for van der Mark however, who had grinded through Saturday’s race in a disappointing eighth. He was visibly pleased after Race 2: “I’m really happy with this result today. Yesterday and Friday we struggled a lot. This morning we changed the bike a lot, and in the morning I felt good, but the race is always different”.
“I had to fight a lot with the bike during the race, because we changed the bike so much and we didn’t have the time to really adjust it”, van der Mark admits. “But anyway, to finish fifth in the second race is a good result, especially after yesterday when we struggled so much. The gap to the front was a lot closer today”.
Expectations were lower than for previous rounds in the Yamaha box, but by the end of Sunday things had progressed very well: “We couldn’t really find a good set-up, but Alex did and he finished on the podium. Even though yesterday I finished eighth, if you look back at last year we’ve improved a lot. It’s good to see that the bike has improved, even on difficult tracks like this”.
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