Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team rider Michael van der Mark signed off from the first half of the season with a superb second-place finish in Race 2 in Misano on Sunday at Round 9 of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. Alex Lowes bounced back from the disappointment of his first DNF of the year in Saturday’s Race 1 to claim vital championship points with sixth place on Sunday. Wild card rider Niccolò Canepa also added to his points tally from the weekend with a strong ride to 13th place in the 21-lap race.
Again the riders faced hot and humid conditions for Sunday’s encounter, with the track temperature rising to 45 degrees Centigrade ahead of the race. Van der Mark started from pole position after finishing in fourth place during Saturday’s Race 1, while Lowes started from the fourth row of the grid as a result of his crash in Race 1. Canepa started from two rows further back in 16th position
Van der Mark lost out in the run to the first corner to Xavi Fores, but took the race lead on lap three after the Spaniard suffered a technical problem. The 25-year-old Dutch rider increased his pace and managed to pull out a gap as the pursuing pack battled for position behind him, but was then chased and eventually caught by reigning World Champion Jonathan Rea. A fierce fight for the victory ensued but with two laps to go the Irishman made his move and forced his way through. Despite constant pressure to retake the lead, van der Mark was unable to make a final challenge and had to settle for second place at the line after a thrilling race. This result sees the 2014 WorldSSP Champion remain third in the overall championship standings with 248 points, 30 points behind second-placed Chaz Davies.
A lightning start on his R1 followed by some aggressive overtaking on the first lap saw Alex Lowes make his way rapidly into the top six. While the 27-year-old British rider was able to more closely match the pace of his rivals today, he was missing the feeling with the bike needed to push forward into contention for a podium finish. Rather than risk all Lowes rode an intelligent race to maintain sixth place and to pick up vital championship points. The 2013 British Superbike Champion currently lies equal fifth in the standings with 193 points , the same number as today’s third placed finisher Marco Melandri.
Nico Canepa signed off his second wild card appearance with the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team with another point scoring finish in Misano today, bringing his R1 home in a creditable 13th position and contributing more race-acquired data to Yamaha’s development program.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 2nd +0.334s
“My start wasn’t that great so I followed Xavi Fores for a couple of laps, but I think he had a problem and I passed him. Once at the front I tried to do my own pace and find my own rhythm. I thought I would be a bit faster, but in the hot temperatures it was difficult. I saw that the three riders behind were involved in a big fight, so I just tried to stay as consistent as possible. I managed to pull a bit of a gap but then lap-by-lap Johnny Rea was getting closer and he eventually passed me when I made a small mistake. I could follow him and stay close for the last two laps, but I didn’t quite have enough to overtake him. A bit disappointed to miss out on the win but second is really good for the championship and a nice way to go into the summer break.”
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 6th +6.559s
“The weekend started really well on Friday, but then I had a really tough day yesterday so to bounce back to come from 12th to sixth was good. I still didn’t feel too comfortable in the race; I had a really good start and first few laps and I expected to be able to challenge a little bit more but it didn’t quite happen today. I’ll take the points and learn what I can from the weekend, even from yesterday because there’s something to be learnt from that too. It was nice to see another podium for Michael at another track with the Yamaha; we’re there every weekend now. We didn’t quite get the best from the weekend but I’m happy to pick up points today.”
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team – 13th +33.758
“The weekend is finished and I am quite satisfied about the two races. We had a few problems in Race 1 and a few problems in Race 2, so we weren’t so lucky. We improved from Donington and we continue working hard to make more improvements and Michael’s podium today demonstrates that we are working in the right direction. I am happy with my weekend but now we will continue testing and I hope I will have the opportunity to race again in the future, as this would be amazing.”
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK – Team Principal
“What a race! A fantastic performance by Michael from the front row of the grid and equally by his team to take a good step forward with the setting of his R1 in the heat of Misano. Michael didn’t put a wheel wrong for 21 laps and at one stage was able to pull a gap on the chasing pack before fighting valiantly under pressure from Johnny Rea. After Rea had made the pass with two laps to go what was equally impressive was that Michael was looking forward to try and retake the lead rather than trying to defend against Marco Melandri. Congratulations to him and all involved. After the disappointment of the DNF here last year, a nice way to go into the summer break.
Despite showing superb pace and consistency on Friday, Saturday didn’t work out for Alex and today was always going to be about maximising potential from the fourth row after a difficult Race 1. He made a superb start then made some great passes in the early laps to force his way into contention for the top six, but today wasn’t quite Alex’s day in terms of having the feeling he needed to force further forward and challenge for the podium. When you’re in that position you need to stay focussed and get the best result you possibly can. After winning in Brno and being on the podium in Laguna, today showed great maturity to accept the limits and bring the bike home in a very strong points scoring position and only a few seconds off the winner.
Thanks to Nico for all his efforts this weekend. He’s a quality rider and, from our point of view, an exceptional test rider and it always helps the development when a rider is able to fight with other bikes and push the limits in the race.”