WSB: Van der Mark: 'The bike is at 95%'

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Michael van der Mark has said the Yamaha World Superbike is still only at 95% despite clinching his debut victory in the series in a tense race at Donington Park.

The Dutchman held off the Kawasaki of World Champion Jonathan Rea to take Yamaha to their first World Superbike victory since 2011, and the first since Yamaha launched their current WSB project in 2016.

“I tried to stay calm; that didn’t really work but I tried,” he laughed. “The last few laps Jonny got closer and closer and I saw during the last three laps the distance was staying quite similar, so I knew if I could keep the good pace I would be OK. I tried to stay calm, nearly crashed going down Craner curves but Jonathan said that upset him too so I didn’t lose any time. I’m really happy to have got my first victory and I’m so happy for Yamaha.”

However, van der Mark was keen to point out that one victory does not a title fighter make, stating there is still work to do before the Yamaha can regularly challenge the Kawasakis at the front.

“We’ve had some podiums, some we deserved and some we got lucky but today we showed that the bike is getting better and we can fight for the victory. We are not there yet, but we showed today that when the bike is at 95% we can fight for victory.” 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing