Michael van der Mark admitted he was at a loss to explain his lack of pace on Friday in Thailand, saying he was happy with the performance of his Honda CBR1000RR. The Dutch rookie was only twelfth fastest today, meaning he has work to do on Saturday morning to ensure an automatic passage through to Superpole 2.
With one timed practice session to go, all is not lost for van der Mark and the youngster is hopeful that a calmer approach will yield rewards tomorrow.
“There was no real problem today and it’s strange because I felt good with the bike on this new track, but the lap time is not there, which is a bit frustrating. I’m sure the guys will find something on the data tonight so I’m not too worried. I’m losing a lot of time in the second sector so we’ll check everything later to find out what it was. I rode the laps, feeling good on the bike in the heat, but each time I crossed the line I was like ‘Where’s the lap time?’ I think a good night’s sleep will help me relax for tomorrow. It’s an interesting track because the first part is long and fast and the second is a combination of smaller corners, but we’ll work hard tonight to try and go a little faster around it tomorrow.”
PATA Honda technical co-ordinator Pieter Breddels confirmed van der Mark’s struggles in the sector two, a part of the circuit dominated by one of Chang’s many long straights, but doesn’t see any reason why he can’t improve in time for Superpole.
“Michael struggled a little in sector two this morning and that continued this afternoon. We’ll look into everything in details a bit later but I’m quite sure there’s better things to come tomorrow.”