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SBK, Van Der Mark: "In Yamaha to have a new adventure

The Dutch team Pata rider has left Honda Ten Katein search of new stimuli: "I want to win at Suzuka again and try MotoGP"

SBK: Van Der Mark: "In Yamaha to have a new adventure

Michael Van Der Mark's racing career seems like a diagram, carefully planned out to reach the most ambitious of destinations: the young Dtich rider, having won the 2014 Supersport world championship with the Honda CBR600 of Team Ten Kate, also Dutch, he moved up to SBK the following year and in the last two seasons, #60 has scored 9 podium finishes, just missing out on the race win on various occasions.

It is perhaps this last step, a fundamental one that has so far eluded him, that has pushed Michael to change his point of view: “after some wonderful years with the Honda and team Ten Kate, I took the decision to leave, to change the air; at a certain point I felt the need for a new adventure, to know new people and feel "fresh" in my career again. Team Yamaha arrived at the right time and we came to an agreement. And so here I am”.

Here you are, new team, new bike…

Yes, it's all new for me; in terms of the bike, I have to say that the R1 differs from the Honda that I rode for the last two years. The first thing I noticed is that the R1 has a very solid frame and I had to work on the settings in order to best exploit that. The Yamaha engine is totally different to the CBR Honda, I enjoyed riding the R1 during the tests and need to adapt quite a lot to be fast”.

How exactly do you need to modify your riding?

“With the Yamaha R1 the best thing to do is to let the bike run, clean and linear, especially when you open the throttle. The power delivery is smooth and there is power at all speeds. I have to be careful when I fully open the gas, because the power is delivered in a different way to what I'm used to; with the Yamaha it's as if you're riding fast, but in reality, it's faster”.

Do you think that Rea, Sykes and Davies can be beaten?

First I need to improve and build confidence with the Yamaha, but, as I've already done in the past, I'll have the chance to be in front of them again this year”.

At the Yamaha HQ, located close to the Monza track, the teams competing in the World Endurance championship were also in attendance and, considering the manufacturer's philosophy of using riders in the best way and across various categories, as demonstrated by Alex Lowes and Niccolò Canepa last season, “VDM” too might have chance to ride different bikes: “I've spoken with Yamaha to organise my season. My priority is the SBK of course, but I would also like to compete in the Suzuku 8 Hours, I've already won that twice on the Honda CBR and now I'd like to try with the Yamaha, I want to win again at Suzuka”.

Does MotoGP attract you?

Of course it attracts me! I've had no promises from Yamaha, when talking about this season, but I've asked if I could carry out a test with the M1. We'll see, for now I must focus on being strong with the SBK R1 and I have many things to do in order to be able to improve”.

Who knows, perhaps the Dutchman's decision to move to Yamaha came down to Honda's refusal to commit to these future opportunities in which he so strongly believes.


Translated by Heather Watson

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