Historic undertaking by Van Der Mark on Yamaha who, relying on the new larger 200/65 size Pirelli rear tyre, becomes the first Dutch rider to win a race in the WorldSBK class
In Race 1 at Donington Park, “Magic Mike” bests the factory Kawasaki ridden by defending World Champion Jonathan Rea and pole man Tom Sykes thanks in part to his unusual rear tyre choice
Today at the English Donington Park circuit, 25 year-old rider Michael Van Der Mark accomplished a historic undertaking, becoming the first Dutch rider in history to win a race in the WorldSBK class of the MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship.
“Magic Mike”, as his fans calls him, after starting from the sixth spot on the grid, managed to move into the race lead just after the mid-race point, holding onto it until the end to finish ahead of the Kawasaki machines ridden by World Champion Jonathan Rea and pole man Tom Sykes.
Contributing to Michael Van Der Mark's success was also the Dutchman's unusual decision (going against the current). Unlike most of the riders on the grid, he decided to mount the new Pirelli rear tyre in soft compound and the larger 200/65 size on his Yamaha YZF-R1. This tyre allowed him to take full advantage of his bike's performance, especially in the final part of the race with respect to the Kawasaki riders. The latter had to settle for second and third place, with “Superpoleman” Tom Sykes who celebrated his 44 Superpolesin the morning, the only rider in the history of the FIM World Superbike Championship to ever reach this milestone.
In Race 1, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who started from the second spot on the grid behind teammate Tom Sykes, got off the line well, moving into the lead. Behind him were, pole man Sykes and Michael Van Der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), the latter starting from the sixth spot on the grid. Then came Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Loris Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team).
Rea set the race rhythm straight away, but his rivals did not let him get away, breathing down his pipes. During the fourth lap, Sykes took back the lead after a head-to-head with Rea, but shortly thereafter he ran long on a corner, returning the position to Rea. Following close behind the factory Kawasaki machines were the official Yamaha bikes ridden by Van Der Mark and Lowes, all packed into a gap of eight tenths.
On the sixth lap the battle for the lead between the two Kawasaki riders was renewed with Sykes managing to take back first place, besting his teammate. On the following lap, Michael Van Der Mark also became dangerous, threatening Rea's second position. During the thirteenth lap, Van Der Mark's efforts paid off and he moved into second behind Sykes.
On the fifteenth lap, Van Der Mark also managed to get past Tom Sykes for the race lead, even creating a gap ahead of the Kawasaki riders.
In the finale it was a battle between teammates Sykes and Rea for the second step of the podium. In the meantime, during the eighteenth lap, Marco Melandri crashed out, but managed to re-enter the race, whereas Xavi Forés was forced to retire. In the end, Michael Van Der Marksucceeded in his undertaking, finishing first ahead of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes.
WorldSBK Race 1 Standings:
1) M. Van Der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
2) J. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
3) T. Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
4) A. Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
5) L. Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia)
6) E. Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia)
7) L. Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team)
8) C. Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
9) L. Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
10) L. Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
11) J. Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)
12) M. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team)
13) L. Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura)
14) B. Ray (Buildbase Suzuki)
15) P. Jacobsen (TripleM Honda World Superbike Team)
16) J. Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
17) L. Mossey (Team Pedercini Racing)
18) O. Jezek (Guandalini Racing)
19) R. Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki)
20) N. Canepa (Yamaha Motor Europe)
21) T. Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
22) M. Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
23) G. Rea (OMG Racing UK)
RT) X. Forés (Barni Racing Team)
RT) M. Law (Team WD40)
The Pirelli solutions chosen by the WorldSBK riders for Race 1:
In Race 1, as had already happened at Imola, the combination of the V0952 SC1 development tyre (option B) on the front and the W1050 SC0 development solution (option B) at the rear remained the most popular among the riders. In particular, on the front, the soft V0952 development solution (option B) was confirmed as the most popular among the riders, chosen by 21 out of the 25 riders on the grid. Only the Kawasaki riders, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) preferred the standard SC2 (option C), while Ducati riders Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Xavi Forés (Barni Racing Team) opted for the standard SC1 (option A).
On the rear, 2/3 of the riders opted for the soft W1050 development tyre (option A), introduced by Pirelli at Aragón and also taken to Assen and Imola. This is a solution that guarantees absolute top shelf performance with respect to the other solutions in conditions like those today at Donington. Using this option were all the riders on the front row of the starting grid, whereas the only ones using the new W1002 SC0 development solution (option C)were the factory Yamaha riders and Lorenzo Savadori on Aprilia, a choice which rewarded the race winner.
Pirelli statistics for WorldSBK Race 1:
• Winner of the PIRELLI BEST LAP Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK),in 1'27.974 at the 18th lap
• Most used front solution: devolpment SC1 V0952 (21 out of 25 riders)
• Most used rear solution: devolpment SC0 W1050 (16 out of 25 riders)
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 271.5 km/h, achieved by Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) in the 1st lap
• Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 5 front and 8 rear
Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 80, including 34 front and 46 rear
• Air temperature: 18° C
• Asphalt temperature: 31° C