Michael van der Mark took a fine third place finish for the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team with Rizla in the Tissot Superpole Race, at the fourth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship held at MotorLand Aragón today.
It was the Dutchman’s first podium at the Spanish venue following a quintet of fifth places aboard his Yamaha R1 since 2017. The performance also heralded a step forward for the Pata Yamaha team at the Aragón circuit, who have worked hard to find solutions to prolong tyre life and find grip in the prevailing conditions this weekend.
Van der Mark was then able to start Race 2 from the front row of the grid and quickly pushed through to second place behind eventual race-winner Jonathan Rea. However as grip levels dropped, he found himself unable to hold the position for the full race distance and eventually settled for a strong sixth-place finish.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu took valuable points to retain third in the overall Riders’ Championship standings with incredibly hard-fought seventh and eighth-place finishes in the two races. The 23-year-old was disappointed with the results, particularly after visiting the podium on a regular basis during the previous three rounds, but provided WorldSBK TV broadcast viewers with thrilling entertainment in Race 2, being embroiled in a wheel-to-wheel, five-way battle over seventh for nearly 10 laps.
This concludes the first of two back-to-back events at the Spanish venue, with the Pirelli Teruel Round scheduled to begin this Friday, 4 September, starting at 10:30 local time (GMT+2) for Free Practice 1, where the Pata Yamaha team will work to make further improvements for both riders to fight for the podium.
Michael van der Mark – SPRC: P3 / R2: P6
“I think we can be quite happy with today’s performance, this morning in Warm Up we tried something a little different on the bike and it felt better compared to yesterday. In the Superpole Race I had a lot of fun, there was some good action and I felt strong. I was missing a bit of grip at the end, but I was really happy to finish on the podium for the first time at Aragón. For Race 2, we had a good bike for the long distance and from the start I was really fast and managed to get up to second place. From there, Johnny was a bit too quick to catch! As soon as my grip dropped, I struggled a lot on the exit of the corners and one-by-one people started passing me, so that’s why we finished sixth. Despite this, I think we are going in the right direction. We made some good progress and the best thing is that we have a lot of data from this weekend which we can use for the next one.”
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P7 / R2: P8
“Today, I think this has been my worst weekend this year even though we finished and collected points in every race. We tried a different set-up for rear grip after yesterday, in the Superpole Race it didn’t feel too bad, but it did not work for me during Race 2 and so this is the result. Now I will look ahead with my team for next week here at Aragón and work to find another approach to try and fight at the front.”
Paul Denning, Team Principal
“As we’ve said before, Aragón has not been the strongest hunting ground for the Yamaha R1 or for Michael in the past, so to see him put in such a strong ride in the Superpole Race and to finish on the podium was very satisfying. That set him up nicely for a competitive Race 2 this afternoon – having forced his way to second position, things were again looking very positive. But, ultimately a slight lack of outright performance made it difficult to stay with the podium contenders over the full 18 laps. Nonetheless, it was a strong weekend for Michael and with a few further improvements, he and his crew are looking forward to next week. Toprak’s day was challenging, with seventh and eight places in the two races but he never gave up and as always, his spectacular riding style gave the fans watching from home a lot of entertainment. There is a lot to do both for Toprak himself, who unfortunately has not achieved his “normal” level of performance at this circuit, and for his crew and engineers to find a solution that allows him to show his full potential. His efforts mean that he still sits third in the championship having scored important points, so these races, while a bit disappointing, could be important come the end of the season.”