Michael Van Der Mark on battle with Toprak: ‘I made a cheeky pass to wake him up’

Michael Van Der Mark carried on his momentum from Barcelona after challenging for the podium in Assen.

Michael van der Mark, Dutch WorldSBK, 19 April
Michael van der Mark, Dutch WorldSBK, 19 April

After injuries derailed him during the last two seasons, Michael Van Der Mark finally appears to be back at his best following another positive WorldSBK performance at Assen.

Van Der Mark returned to form in Barcelona before challenging for the podium places during Sunday’s double-header. 

Van Der Mark ultimately came up short after going ‘back to my old habits’, but it’s clear that the addition of Toprak Razgatlioglu is helping the Dutch rider.

“It was nice to fight for the podium and stay with the top guys,” said Van Der Mark. “It has been awhile. In Barcelona I was pretty close but here I could fight with them.

“Of course, I would have liked to be on the podium here in Assen. We tried, and came really close, but we have to stay realistic and it has been awhile since I’ve been in these positions and in this form. 

“I struggled a bit at the end of the race because I went back to my old habit of pushing a bit too hard in the wrong places.

“That’s why I lost the top group. But I should be happy to see that we are making steps.”

When rain began to fall during Race 2 Van Der Mark was one of the riders that pushed on to try and claw back lost time.

And speaking about the conditions, Van Der Mark was happy to see the changeable conditions impact a race for the second time in two days.

“I thought, let it come. I will push more now! It was difficult because I didn’t really know how much rain there would be and how wet the track would be,” stated Van Der Mark. 

“Everybody was looking at each other but this was my time to close the gap and I managed to do it but it was really difficult. Also really fun.

For the first time this season Van Der Mark was able to challenge Razgatlioglu, finishing ahead of him in the Superpole Race before overtaking the eventual Race 2 winner early on in the second feature race.

Michael van der Mark, Toprak Razgatlioglu, Dutch WorldSBK, 20 April
Michael van der Mark, Toprak Razgatlioglu, Dutch WorldSBK, 20 April

Discussing the battle with Razgatlioglu, Van Der Mark jokingly said: “It was nice to battle with them but I started to push in the wrong areas.

“I was back in my old habit and that’s why we lost it, but that’s why we compare with Toprak. 

“I have to work on this. It was fantastic. I saw in the race how strong he was and I made a cheeky little pass on him to wake him up a bit.

“It was nice to fight with him and it was fantastic to see him take this win.”

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