Yamaha rider aiming to remain inside top three after Qatar Round
Just one round remains on the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship calendar after a season in which several riders have managed to rise above expectations and to greater heights than ever before. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) is one of those men: in his second season onboard a YZF-R1, the Dutch rider lies third in the championship standings and could seal the first top three finish for a non-Brit since Sylvain Guintoli won the title in 2014.
The future could not look brighter for the 25-year-old. After a first year getting the hang of his new Yamaha machine, van der Mark has shined all throughout 2018 with ten podium finishes, including his first two WorldSBK race wins at Donington Park. All these consistent performances have led him to his highest point tally in the championship with the Pirelli Qatar Round still to go.
Sitting on 324 points, van der Mark could still overtake Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) for the overall runner-up spot, as 24 points separate the pair. On the flipside, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) are still within touching distance of the Yamaha rider – 30 and 38 points respectively – so van der Mark should beware of resting on his laurels. Two fourth-place finishes are the Dutch rider’s best results under the floodlights of Losail.
Van der Mark looks forward to closing 2018 in style as the final round beckons: “I can't believe that we're heading into the final race weekend of the season already. It seems to have gone so quickly, maybe because we've had so many good results this season. We will be doing everything we can this weekend to finish on a high and focus on ending the season top three in the championship standings. The last round in Argentina was tough, but we're expecting much better results this weekend in Qatar, at a track that seems to suit the characteristics of our YZF-R1 very well”.
Catch all the action from the final round at Losail International Circuit thanks to WorldSBK VideoPass.