It won't just be the Ducati-Kawasaki battle coming under the spotlight at Portimao, because some of the attention will surely be on the Yamaha garage, where Michael van der Mark will embark on a real tour de force this weekend. First the Portuguese SBK round, then the Aragon round on board the M1, where he will be tasked with standing in for a certain Valentino Rossi.
Basically, the Dutchman picks up a pretty heavy baton: “Of course I'm really excited for the trust Yamaha has put in me– comments the rider - I can't wait to get to Aragon to test a MotoGP bike for the first time. But for now I'm just thinking about doing well on Saturday and Sunday – he states – riding my R1”
Michael then touches on the difficulties of the latest Lausitz round: “Unfortunately it was a complicated weekend – he recalls - Portimao is one of those tracks where I tested the bike over the winter and I'm sure I can be competitive, I like the track, it's a special one”.
While the Dutchman champs at the bit on one side of the garage, it's a rather different mood for Alex Lowes. Despite the Brit leading the way in terms of championship points, it is his team-mate who will ride the M1. It's better not to think too much about it, and focus instead on the Portuguese round: “It seems like we have had a long time off since Germany, it's been a strange summer actually, considering the lack of races - comments the Yamaha man - this is a track that is really exciting and lots of fun to ride. I am fully focused on improving mine and the team's results on the R1 before the end of the year..."