After the first win of any rider’s career in a particular class, sometimes a floodgate opens and they win more and more.
It was only 24 hours after Michael van der Mark’s first WorldSBK race win for Pata Yamaha that he added another 25 points to his account, and in doing so, he moved to third place in the championship, equal on points with Tom Sykes.
“In the end, I did it again,” was van der Mark’s instant reaction to his amazing race two win, starting from ninth on the grid. “I do not know how, to be honest, because I had to start from ninth on the grid and it is not ideal. I think in the beginning some riders were really aggressive, and I was a bit scared, especially in the first corner. Luckily I stayed calm and did my own thing, managed my way to the front.”
His team-mate Alex Lowes, from pole after finishing fourth on day one, was in determined mood and VDM used his front running pace as a gauge.
“Alex did a good job pulling away so early and he had quite a big gap. I knew I could do my own rhythm and I saw I was closing in slowly, lap by lap. When I was behind him I saw Johnny was closing on us as well. I decided to not fight with Alex, just follow him and see if maybe we would pull away again – but it was Johnny – so he passed me and he struggled a bit to overtake Alex. I decided to follow them and see if I could do the same as yesterday.”
With his first day’s experienced of winning under his belt, it was slightly less stressful for VDM to take the double win. “I stayed really calm, which was quite difficult, and I had a feeling I could be faster but I did not feel as good as yesterday. The wind was really strong and the direction had changed. I was holding back a bit but I decided to follow them and they had a small battle.
“Then I managed to pass Johnny I had clear track and set my fastest lap time. This I did not expect. It felt so good and we changed barely nothing on the bike compared to yesterday. It was an amazing race again and for sure I did not expect to take it home.”
Staying clam, even under the pressure of hitting the front and trying to keep the equal best winning rider of all time behind you, was not an easy prospect again for VDM, but it was at least easier.
At least the last laps I was a little bit more nervous than yesterday so this is a good thing. For sure it works in your head, and it is difficult to explain, but today for sure I was less nervous than yesterday.”
When asked if the Donington layout was a good one for his Yamaha, VDM said, “For sure this is a track that suits the Yamaha, and I love this track, but you are still see that there are some stop and go areas, like the last part of the track, we are still struggling. We are getting better, but this is the point where we struggled.
“In the fast and flowing part of the track the Yamaha is amazing and it is the same in Assen. It is still difficult to control the bike in stop and go areas, but in fast areas the bike had always been amazing.”