Despite not running in First Practice at Phillip Island, Michael van der Mark and teammate Toprak Razgatlioglu have shown great pace…
The opening practice session in mixed conditions meant neither Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team rider, Michael van der Mark and Toprak Razgatlioglu, made it out on track. However, in the dry afternoon session, both riders finished in the top three with Toprak Razgatlioglu leading Michael van der Mark by a few hundredths of a second.
The headline times show van der Mark close to the front running pace ahead of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship curtain-raiser, but a lot of focus at Phillip Island goes into tyre conservation. The circuit features lots of fast, sweeping corners which punishes the tyres, meaning teams spend a lot of time working on how to make sure they last.
Talking after the two sessions, van der Mark commented: “It´s been quite a good afternoon session. This morning we didn’t ride in the rain and we tried some small things again with the bike, electronics and Pirelli brought some different tyres so that’s what we tried this afternoon. In the end I went out with new tyres and improved my lap time quite a lot, but we’re still focussing on improving race pace. But quite happy with the first Friday of the year.”
When asked about the race pace the team seemed to have from the Official Test, the 27-year-old Dutchman said: “That’s been our main goal during the test to find the right balance, right speed for a race distance and in the test we did two long runs which we were quite okay and the tyres were still good at the end. We were quite happy but want to improve the pace a bit but think we’re going in the right direction.”
The 2014 World Supersport Champion may feel he has the pace to take Yamaha’s first win at Phillip Island since 2009 (Ben Spies in Race 2), but with all five manufacturers within a second of each other after the two sessions, the season-opening weekend is sure to be a spectacular event.
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