WorldSBK

WATCH ‘stupid’ move that caused huge van der Mark Sepang 8 Hours crash

Michael van der Mark doesn't hold back as he criticises the 'stupid' move that eliminated him and the SIC Yamaha team from the Sepang 8 Hours

Michael van der Mark didn’t hold back in giving his assessment of the incident that cost the MotoGP-influenced Yamaha team a shot at victory in the inaugural Sepang 8 Hours Endurance World Championship race in Malaysia.

The Dutch WorldSBK ace was paired with MotoGP rider Franco Morbidelli and local star Hafizh Syharin on the YART-prepared SIC Yamaha R1, but despite starting from pole position and dicing for the lead early on, a clash with Honda’s Mike di Meglio ended both of their chances.

A race that was severely hampered by treacherous conditions and led to repeated delays in the hope the rainy weather would ease, when the main event did eventually begin – five hours after the clock began ticking down - van der Mark led the Bridgestone-shod YART Yamaha R1 off the line.

Engaging in a battle with the F.C.C Honda’s di Meglio, their tussle came to a head when the Frenchman attempted to cut up the inside of van der Mark on the exit of the final corner hairpin, only to lose the front and slide into his rival.

van der Mark was pitched into a vicious high-side that launched him over the handlebars, leaving him visibly stunned and furious when he returned to the pit-lane.

“I don’t know what to say," van der Mark said in the immediate aftermath. "It was a stupid move. It's an endurance race, I don’t know why he was in such a rush."

"I'm not sure what di Meglio's plan was with the pass at the final corner, but it didn't work, and it ended for me with a massive highside that let me badly winded," said van der Mark, who branded the move as 'stupid' on live TV shortly after the incident.

di Meglio defended himself, saying “He went wide, I tried to pass. He saw me, but closed [the line] and touched my front wheel.”

The SIC Yamaha team continued with Morbidelli on the bike, the Petronas SRT Yamaha MotoGP rider scoring the fastest lap in improving conditions to help the team climb from 44th to seventh at the chequered flag.

Their clash paved the way for the sister YART Yamaha of Niccolo Canepa, Broc Parkes and Marvin Fritz to take the spoils, though only Canepa actually raced after being instructed to stay on the R1 for the entire three hours of track running.

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