Michael van der Mark is pleased to have secured a second row grid slot for his World Superbike debut tomorrow, even if it didn’t come in ideal circumstances. The Dutchman will start fourth after a heavy crash for David Salom brought an early end to Superpole and although he was disappointed not to try the qualifying tyre, van der Mark wasn’t complaining with the outcome.
“This morning was really good and we improved the lap time as well as making a really good run. I was also happy with FP4, not just because I was fastest, but because of the bike and the tyres. I was really looking forward to qualifying but I got to the first corner with the Q and the red flags came out. I really wanted to finish the lap but fourth place for my debut is not too bad. Of course, you want it to come in a different way, but I think we are ready for tomorrow.”
PATA Honda teammate Sylvain Guintoli didn’t enjoy the same fortune with the red flags brought out four minutes from time. The defending champion will start tomorrow’s races from ninth spot and admits there is still work to do for him to be competitive tomorrow.
“The bike felt much better in the Superpole laps that I did on the race tyre and the lap time was coming really easily, even though I wasn’t pushing. I need to find the right balance between aggression and speed and it’s quite different from what I’m used to. I’m working on being more efficient on the CBR and because I didn’t really get proper track time before we came here I’ve been playing catch up a bit. Of course, I’m trying to go fast but I think maybe I’m trying a bit too much and need to chill out a bit and concentrate on enjoying myself. The more frustrated I get the slower I get and, as I said before, I need to get dialled in. We made a big change for Superpole that felt good and hopefully in the warm-up tomorrow we can keep chipping away at the race pace.”