Michael van der Mark topped the timesheets on the opening day in Misano but unfortunately the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider will sit out the remainder of the weekend, having sustained a fractured right wrist in a heavy crash in the final moments of today’s second free practice session. GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Sandro Cortese, got his Misano weekend off to a flying start, improving his lap time by more than half a second in FP2 to end the day in fourth position, one place ahead of fellow Yamaha rider, Alex Lowes. Marco Melandri made it four Yamahas in the top ten, with his time from FP1 securing the veteran Italian ninth place on the timesheet, while Loris Baz also had to rely on his time from the first of the two free practice sessions to finish 17th.
Having shown his potential with second place in FP1 this morning, van der Mark was the fastest rider on track in FP2. The Pata Yamaha rider looked all set to improve on his previous best time as the session drew to a close, but his flying lap ended with a heavy crash as he exited the final turn. The session was red flagged while circuit medical staff attended to van der Mark by the side of the track, before transporting him to the medical centre.
After further examination in the medical centre van der Mark was diagnosed with concussion, fractures to the radius and trapezium bones in his right wrist and fractures to ribs nine and ten on his right side. The Pata Yamaha rider was transported to Rimini Hospital, where he will remain under observation for 24 hours as a precautionary measure, before undergoing surgery to plate the radius fracture.
“When you see an accident as severe as Michael’s today, it really brings home the risks that all the riders take when they are pushing to the limits,” said Pata Yamaha Team Principal, Paul Denning.
“Thankfully he is ‘basically’ ok, despite injuries that will rule him out of the races this weekend. Of course, this is a huge disappointment for him, the team and for Yamaha because – following Jerez’s superb victory – Michael’s outright pace and consistency here in Misano had set him up to again challenge for the race wins. His parents, girlfriend Nadieh and Andrea Dosoli are with him at the hospital, we know he is in good medical hands and at this moment everybody involved in Yamaha’s WorldSBK project sends Michael all the best wishes and positive energies we can for a swift recovery. His potential is clear and we can’t wait to see Michael back on the R1,” concluded Denning.
It was a solid opening day for the remaining Yamaha riders, despite the hot conditions resulting in a distinct lack of grip compared to the recent two-day test at the circuit. Cortese managed the conditions well and was one of the few riders to improve on his FP1 time in this afternoon’s second free practice session, with the reigning Supersport World Champion ending the day fourth on combined times.
Lowes was satisfied with the progress made today, having spent both practice sessions working on race set-up on used tyres. The Pata Yamaha was missing some feeling from the front of his R1 but is confident that he and his crew can find a solution ahead of qualifying tomorrow.
For Melandri the focus for tomorrow is on improving available grip and the feedback from both the front and rear tyres. The Italian was ninth fastest today but is confident of improvement tomorrow.
Also confident of improvement tomorrow is Ten Kate Yamaha rider Baz who, together with the team, is still learning how to get the best from the Yamaha R1 with which they made their debut last time out in Jerez.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P5 – 1’36.380
“The track temperature is a lot higher and the track is more slippery than it was when we were here for the test a few weeks ago. Today we just worked through the program, staying on used tyres, but I still need to find a bit more confidence with the front of the bike. We’ll have a look through the data tonight to find a solution ready for tomorrow, but the main thing is that Michael is relatively okay after what was a big crash in FP2. That’s not how you want to end the day after setting the fastest time but, hopefully, he’ll be back on the bike very soon and I wish him all the best.”
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK – P4 – 1’36.267
“A very positive day, which started with a good feeling this morning after the test here and the last races in Jerez. This afternoon we made a significant improvement again, in what was a very good free practice session for us, as we worked towards the first race. The lap times were consistent, the pace was good and I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK – P9 – 1’36.629
“The first day here in Misano proved very difficult because of the track conditions. I don’t think anyone was expecting such a lack of grip, which made the front and rear so unpredictable and the bike so difficult to ride. Tyre endurance also seems to be an issue, but the main goal is to try and improve the available grip for tomorrow. My feeling is not so bad, but I need to feel more comfortable on the bike if we are to improve.”
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK – P17 – 1’37.490
“It’s been a tough opening day for everyone, I think. The track is really hot and the grip really bad compared to the test here. We just worked on the bike, trying to improve and we continued this process this afternoon with the race tyre, when the track conditions were even more difficult. I was getting better and better as the session progressed, but we have been a bit unlucky with the tyre for the sprint races, as I haven’t managed more than three laps on it so far and, today when we put in this tyre, we had a small problem with the bike. But we are still on a steep learning curve and, sometimes, we just need to be a little patient.”