Michael Van Der Mark: ‘I messed up in Superpole, I could not recover any places…’

Michael Van Der Mark was strong during both feature races at Phillip Island but struggled to make headway during the shorter Superpole Race.

Michael Van Der Mark, Australian WorldSBK, 23 February
Michael Van Der Mark, Australian WorldSBK, 23 February

Michael Van Der Mark had an up-and-down weekend at the WorldSBK season-opener, after impressing in the feature races, but struggling in qualifying.

The Dutch rider could only claim 16th in Saturday’s Superpole session, but once racing got underway the factory BMW rider turned his fortunes around. 

Van Der Mark hit the ground running and immediately moved into the top ten, however, a difficult Superpole Race then resulted in him having to fight back again in Race 2.

Van Der Mark made his way up to eighth in the final race of the weekend and finished top of the BMW riders after team-mate Toprak Razgatlioglu saw his engine blow up on lap two.

“I think overall the weekend wasn’t too bad,” began Van Der Mark. “I just messed it up in Superpole. Yesterday I had a good race with some good passes and a good result in the end.

“In this morning’s sprint race we tried something different with the bike which felt good in warm up but when the temperature went up in the Superpole Race I just did not have the same feeling.

“It was tough, I could not recover any places so I had to start race two from 16th again. In that race, I had a good start, strong first couple of laps, I stayed out of trouble and was riding in eighth when the red flag came out.

“I re-started from P8 but we had seen that I had some issue with the tyre after five laps before the red flag came.

“Then we had an 11-lap sprint and I just did not know how to manage the tyre. If I had pushed like in the first part of the race I was not sure if I would be going to make it.

“So mixed feelings but got some good points at the end. And I think the best thing for us is to see how big the improvement BMW has made.

“It’s fantastic to see Toprak on the podium this morning. I think that the start of the season gave the whole team a big confidence boost.”

Read More