Michael van der Mark admits he will ride with the World Supersport Championship title in mind as he looks to seal the crown for PATA Honda with two races to spare.
Having opened up a 53 point advantage over Jules Cluzel ahead of a prolonged summer break after claiming a fourth win of the season at Portimao, the Dutchman has emerged as the big beneficiary of the decision to cancel one of the remaining events on the calendar (South Africa) and not double up any WSS races in return.
As such, with just three races of the season remaining, van der Mark is well positioned to seal the title in Jerez provided he simply out-scores Cluzel or finishes within two points of him.
Looking ahead to the weekend, though van der Mark says he will need to reacquaint himself with the Honda CBR600RR after riding a Honda CBR1000RR to victory in the Suzuka 8 Hours, he is looking forward to the prospect of getting the deed done.
“To be honest, this summer break has been a little bit too long but it was great to have the opportunity to return to Suzuka at the end of July and win the 8-hour race again with Leon (Haslam) and Takumi (Takahashi). I had a little holiday in the sun after that and I've been training hard to get ready for racing again.
“It will be a little strange to get back on the smaller CBR again after riding the Fireblade in Japan, but I am really looking forward to riding it again. I will approach this weekend in exactly the same way as normal, which is to try and win. I will have the championship in my mind as always though and just try to do the best that I can.”
Should van der Mark wrap up the title, it will be the first title victory for the Ten Kate Racing-run squad since Kenan Sofuoglu triumphed for the team in 2010, while the Dutchman will notch up his second European title after claiming 2012 Superstock 600 glory.