Superbike: Yamaha’s turning point, “Michael van der Mark will amaze you all”

Michael van der Mark

Michael van der Mark is now a top rider: in one fell swoop, he managed to get a double victory in Superbike, allowing Yamaha to finally show off after seven long years. His amazing double victory at Donington made the Italian sponsor of the team jump around in excitement. Yamaha’s team have always had great expectations, but so far they had been living in the shade of Kawasaki and Ducati. This has been a turning point: will Yamaha become the third powerful team fighting for the World Title? Andrea Dosoli, the head of all Yamaha Europe racing activities, is sure of it.

“This didn’t come out of the blue, under certain circumstances we managed to race well in 2017 too. Do you remember Misano? Michael van der Mark was clearly winning, but he fell because of a technical issue with his bike’s rear tire. We have done a good job in some 2018 races too, but we weren’t good enough to make it all the way to the podium”.

 Were you expecting a win on the circuit were Kawasaki had been always winning since 2013?

“We have been constantly improving our YZF R1. Last year, we were racing really fast in the first half of the track, but we lost too many tenths at the two stop & go.  The technical improvements we have made in the last few months allowed us to gain ground even in the areas we were struggling with”.

Michael van der Mark has been under examination, and he definitely exploded in Donington.

“He worked so hard with the team and he was really astonishing, especially when he won Race 2 starting from the third row on the grid. He made some very smart choices halfway through the race, managing the tires very well. This time he added some cold blood to his undeniable talent, carefully managing the whole race. When he stepped down the podium, the first thing he said was: I’m happy, because I won using my own brain. He is young and neede some time to grow as a rider. Now I think he is ready to amaze us again”.

Will the Donington party continue on other tracks?

“Michael van der Mark he is now fully aware of his potential. A double victory like this one, so clear-cut, is fundamental for a 25 years old rider. For me, this has been a great step ahead”.

 You have always been sure about Yamaha’s victory. But every time it seemed to slip away…

“Yes, we had been waiting with impatience. I understood that we were almost there at Imola, the race right before Donington. The 2017 race, together with the one in Laguna Seca, was our nightmare. But this year we were going for the podium. That’s the real step ahead”.

Where and when did Yamaha’s growth start?

“In all the areas, more or less. We are very happy with the engine, but we still have some ideas we would like to try on the bike. We know there’s a large margin for improvements on the electronics side. We are always working hard to go forward”.

The regulations allow Yamaha to run at 14,700 revs, against Kawasaki 14,100 revs. What do you think about the new rules?

“The values can be better balanced now, and I think this mirrors Superbike’s philosophy (meaning a mass production-like attitude). The current regulations are interesting because they are taking the private teams back to the top: Toprak Razgatliouglu finished 2nd in Donington and Xavi Fores has been among the best riders since the beginning of this Championship. The number of wild cards has been increasing, and this is a very important factor for Superbike”.

Will Yamaha have satellite teams in 2019?

“We received some requests, but at the moment our priority is to give our main team the best possible structure”.

Michael van der Mark’s and Alex Lowes’s contracts are expiring soon…

“We would like to keep them both. They are young and fast, and they represent the perfect future for the team according to Yamaha’s philosophy. We are always looking for new talented riders that can race in the entry-level categories, before moving to the top”.

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