Michael van der Mark insists despite the excitement surrounding his MotoGP debut as Valentino Rossi’s stand-in at Aragon he is fully focused on his World Superbike campaign this weekend at Portimao for Pata Yamaha.

The Dutch rider became headline news when he was confirmed as Rossi’s replacement while the nine-time world champion recovers from a fractured right tibia and fibula sustained in an enduro training accident.

It sets up a frantic three weeks for van der Mark who resumes his World Superbike campaign with Pata Yamaha at Portimao this weekend before heading to Aragon for MotoGP which is then immediately followed by the Magny-Cours World Superbike round.

van der Mark is relishing the return to the Portuguese track after it dropped off the race calendar last year and having tested at the circuit earlier in the year he feels Pata Yamaha can close the gap to the front-runners as he hunts his first podium of the year.

“I am excited about the opportunity Yamaha has given me in Aragon but I am fully focused now on me and my R1 performing well at Portimao,” van der Mark said. “I'm looking forward to getting into the fight with the top guys this weekend.

“After a difficult weekend at the Lausitzring, I am looking forward to Portimao a lot. We had a good test there during the winter, so I have experience of riding at the circuit on the Yamaha R1 already and it is also one of my favourite tracks.

“It's always a difficult track to setup the bike because it is such a unique circuit, and incorporates lots of different requirements over the lap, but that's also why I like it so much.”

van der Mark won at Portimao in 2014 during his charge to the World Supersport title and in his rookie World Superbike season in 2015 he claimed a ninth and a fifth place finish.


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