Michael van der Mark was full of optimism for the weekend ahead after riding a superbike for the first time on home soil at Assen today. The Dutch rookie impressed immediately, going second fastest in the morning before following that up with fifth in the afternoon, and the home favourite is excited to see where he can take the PATA Honda CBR1000RR in Superpole tomorrow.
“I’m really, really happy with today, which was my first day at Assen on a superbike. I felt really good from the first laps this morning and the CBR was working very well. I am happy with P5 at the end because we have a lot of things still to improve, particularly stability on the exit of corners. In the last session with the new tyre in the rear, the front was already on the limit so I couldn’t really improve my lap time but, with lots to work on, I’m happy with that first day here on the Fireblade.”
Teammate Sylvain Guintoli was eighth fastest but is encouraged to see the Fireblade closing the gap on the frontrunners so far this weekend.
“Today has been a lot better as an opening day for us and we found some interesting things which I’m hoping we can turn into a bit more pace tomorrow. We’re still working to improve my general feeling on the bike because I don’t yet feel like it’s really mine. The lap-by-lap pace is actually quite good and we’re closer to the front than we have been for the last two races. With no really hard braking here at Assen, the CBR is working quite well, particularly through the fast-flowing corners at the back of the circuit.”