Van der Mark "unsure what to expect" before three top-six finishes in Argentina

Monday, 18 October 2021 06:14 GMT

The Dutchman was able to fight in the top six throughout the Argentinean Round on his first time at San Juan on a BMW

The Motul Argentinean Round provided Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) with plenty of challenges as it was his first time at the Circuito San Juan Villicum following his switch to BMW, while it was also the team’s first trip with the BMW M 1000 RR, as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship returned to Argentina for the first time since 2019.

The Dutchman was able to respond to these challenges with three top-six finishes for the first time since a rain-affected UK Round at Donington Park where he was fifth in Race 1 and Race 2, and third in the Tissot Superpole Race. While the podium eluded van der Mark in Argentina, he and the team showed strong promise at the venue for the first time with their new bike, although they did have some information from 2018 and 2019 with the BMW S 1000 RR.

The results mean van der Mark has moved into the top six in the Championship standings, ahead of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who missed Race 2 through injury although he trails fifth-placed Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) by 34 points with 62 available at the final round of the season in Indonesia.

Discussing his weekend, van der Mark said: “It’s been a good weekend. I must say on Friday we struggled a lot so I wasn’t really sure what we could do but we made a big improvement on Saturday morning. Race 1 was alright. In the Warm-Up, we tried to change the bike a little bit and the pace was alright but not the feeling. Temperatures were quite low in the morning, so we went back to Saturday’s setup and had a really good Superpole Race. It was quite fast, faster than Saturday. We left it all for Race 2.”

BMW sit fourth in the Manufacturers’ Championship after the introduction of the brand-new M 1000 RR, 54 points clear of Honda in fifth place but a mammoth 231 points behind Kawasaki in third. Four of the five manufacturers have won a race in 2021, with van der Mark claiming victory in the Superpole Race at Portimao, with BMW claiming four podiums compared to Honda’s two.

Reflecting on his maiden BMW campaign, van der Mark said: “There’s a lot of bikes and different riders doing a really good job and being really close. For us, the first year with the M 1000 RR, to be able to fight with them I think is really positive. Of course, as a rider, you want to make steps and finish on the podium but sometimes you have to look at the reality. I think we’re not doing a really bad job.”

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