You never forget your first time. Michael van der Mark has scored a long-awaited win at Donington, allowing Yamaha to end a fast that had gone on for seven years. He waited for the right moment to carry out the decisive attack on Sykes and Rea, one that saw him take the race lead and hang on to it tight.
It's the first time a Dutch rider has ever won in Superbike.
“This morning Facebook reminded me that four years ago I won the second Supersport race, so I sent a screenshot to the team managers - he told our Speedweek colleagues – what can I say, maybe it was already written (he smiles). I'm obviously pleased with the result, because I immediately proved to have good pace and was able to stick with the fastest guys”.
Michael had a clear strategy in mind.
“I wanted to stick behind Tom and Johnny, making the most of their slipstream and understanding their lines. Then when I passed them, I was amazed that I was able to build a lead”.
Despite the advantage, Rea put the pressure on in the final stages.
“On the maxiscreen I could see that the gap to Johnny was staying more or less the same, so I just tried to relax and finish the race. I had to hold on and avoid any mistakes, and I did it”.
The joy on the Dutch rider's face is evident.
“I'm just so happy, because this result confirms the R1's potential. When we're sorted, we can fight with the best and maybe even win, like today. Now I'm focused on race 2, it won't be easy to do that again, as starting from further back at Donington is not easy, but I'll do my best”.