Michael van der Mark cut a frustrated figure on Sunday evening after claiming a single ninth place at the World Superbike meeting at Imola.

The reigning World Supersport champion couldn't get off the line cleanly in the two starts in race one due to a launch control issue with his Pata Honda CBR1000RR.

A lack of grip offered up by the rear tyre in the restarted six lap sprint limited him to a place just inside the top ten after a close fight with Matteo Baiocco.

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"It's been quite a difficult weekend throughout all the sessions but we improved in each session from Saturday morning," said the Dutchman. "In race one I had a problem with the launch control system so that's why I lost so many places at the start.

"In the end I rode step-by-step and made up around ten places and, although the pace wasn't great, it was an improvement again. Then we had the six lap sprint after the red flag when I tried another tyre but I didn't get any grip, which was quite disappointing."

His hopes of an improvement were aided by a good getaway the second time around. The 22-year old was in a tight fight for fourth place with the Aprilias of Jordi Torres and Leon Haslam when he was pushed off track by the Englishman at the downhill Rivazza corner.

It was, he said, doubly frustrating as a podium finish could have been possible.

"The start of race two was not too bad and I was able to make up some places in the first corner. I moved forward and passed Leon [Haslam] and had a nice fight with Torres.

"Leon wanted to pass but he hit me and I crashed. I was really disappointed with that because if you look at the end Torres got to the podium and, f or sure, a fourth or even a third place might have been possible."