Technical issues plagued Saturday for Tom Sykes and Michael van der Mark but both were able to score some points throughout the three races at Assen
A rollercoaster of a weekend at the TT Circuit Assen for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team culminated in two top-six finishes for Michael van der Mark, despite technical issues in FP3, and two top-seven finishes for teammate Tom Sykes after the British rider had to start at the back of the grid after not setting a representative lap time in the Tissot Superpole session.
Dutchman van der Mark was unable to set a lap time in Free Practice 3 for the Prosecco DOC Dutch Round because of a technical issue although he responded to qualify ninth in Superpole, with his results putting him seventh in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship standings. Van der Mark finished fourth in Race 1 and sixth in Race 2, although crashed out of the Tissot Superpole Race.
Explaining his Superpole Race and looking back on Sunday at Assen, van der Mark said: “I had an okay start, I was feeling really good on the bike and I was starting to pass some people. In one of the fastest corners, I was pushing it harder. I tried to go even faster and had a big highside. Unfortunately crashed out but it was totally my mistake. We lost some good laps there. Race 2, starting from 11th, I had an okay start and I was a bit lucky at Turn 1. I ended up after Lap 1 in fifth position. To be honest, we took the SC0 tyre because the temperature was a bit lower than Saturday. We weren’t sure whether the new tyre would do the full distance. I struggled a little bit with grip. It was quite a tough and long race, especially the last few laps. I had some nice battles with Tom. I managed to catch Rinaldi and Lowes as well. To finish sixth isn’t that bad but it wasn’t a really good Sunday.”
Despite starting from 20th for both Race 1 and the Superpole Race following a technical issue in Superpole, Sykes was able to battle back to claim seventh place in both races, ensuring he started in the top nine for Race 2. At the end of the race, Sykes, van der Mark, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) were all fighting for position, with Sykes dropping out of the battle when he crashed at the final chicane on the penultimate lap; eventually finishing 15th.
Sykes said on Sunday after racing concluded: “We managed to start Race 2 on the third row which was a lot better. We got a much cleaner start to the race as the guys did a bit of work to the BMW M 1000 RR. We used the harder rear tyre and just couldn’t find the grip we needed at the beginning of the race but having said that, the bike stayed very constant throughout the race. Unfortunately coming into the last corner before entering the final lap, I tried to close the line and square the corner off and lost the front. It was such a slow speed crash, but I wasn’t able to save it. It’s such a shame, the bike today was good enough for that top-six and it would have been nice to be consistent the whole weekend. It certainly seems we have made some good improvements including both me and Michael. A disappointing end to the weekend but we can take the positives from it, and we will focus on that and try to build on it for the next round.”
Don’t miss any of the action from WorldSBK in 2021 using the WorldSBK VideoPass!