van der Mark, Yamaha back on top after ‘incredible’ weekend

Michael van der Mark and Yamaha land their first wins of the 2019 World Superbike Championship season after a superb weekend in Jerez
van der Mark, Yamaha back on top after ‘incredible’ weekend

In a season that has seen Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea dominate the spoils in 2019, Michael van der Mark and Yamaha got their chance to shine in Jerez with a first win of the year for both on a lucrative weekend.

The only rider capable of setting lap times comparable with Alvaro Bautista, the Dutchman finished second behind the Spaniard in race one and the Superpole Race before emerging as a beneficiary of the Ducati man’s exit in race two.

Not that his win should be classed as merely fortuitous, van der Mark upsetting the formbook by comfortably seeing off Rea to win by three seconds.

His third career WorldSBK win and a first of the season for the Pata Yamaha team, the 26-year-old hailed the team for the strides in bringing the R1 up to a higher level this weekend.

“What an amazing day! I was a bit upset with myself in the Sprint Race because I tried some optimistic overtakes that lost me a lot of time but in the end, I managed to finish second, which put me on the front row for Race 2.

“I got a good start but then Johnny passed me quite quickly and I was happy to sit behind him and conserve my tyres after Alvaro crashed out. But his pace wasn’t quite what I wanted to do and I could see the group behind were starting to catch us, so I decided to put in a pass and see if I could pull away, which I did.

“It’s been an incredible weekend and the bike has been great, with only very small changes required. I’m really happy with the progress made with the bike, so many thanks to the team and to Yamaha for all their hard work.”

Scoring 54 points for his weekend efforts – only eight points shy of the maximum – van der Mark has surged past team-mate Alex Lowes for third in the standings and is now 46 points clear.