Van der Mark: "It’s been too long since I was on the podium, nice that the bike worked without trying many things"
The Dutchman finished the day in fifth place as the lead BMW rider on Friday at Mandalika at the circuit he scored his last podium at
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship action during the Motul Indonesian Round at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit with Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) putting the German manufacturer inside the top five on Day 1 in Indonesia. The Dutchman, whose last WorldSBK podium came at this venue in 2021, was fifth-fastest in Free Practice 2 as he finished as the fastest BMW rider at Mandalika on Friday.
In Free Practice 1, van der Mark was tenth fastest and the lead BMW rider as he set a 1’36.142s, although track conditions were not optimal during the first 45-minute session. Van der Mark was less than a tenth ahead of teammate Scott Redding as he led a trio of BMW riders. American star Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) took 12th place with little to separate the three riders at the end of Free Practice 1.
In the second practice session, van der Mark posted a best time of 1’33.213s to move into the top five as he finished half-a-second clear of Redding in tenth, while Gerloff and his teammate Loris Baz were 14th and 13th respectively. Van der Mark’s time was 0.745s down on Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who set the pace both in FP2 and in the combined classification on Friday as WorldSBK ignited in Indonesia.
Reacting to his Friday, van der Mark: “It was a good Friday and I was enjoying it. It’s one of my favourite tracks. This morning we didn’t do a lot of laps because the track was dirty, and the tyres were gone quickly. We decided to wait a bit. In the afternoon we went out and basically didn’t change anything on the bike. We threw a fresh set of tyres on at the end and I felt good. Happy that the pace is good, it’s fast. Obviously tomorrow the track will be different again, so we’ll have to see where we’re at again. It’s a good start and I’m really motivated. In Phillip Island Race 2, my pace until Lap 14 wasn’t that bad. I was already quite happy with the progress we made there. Obviously, I was not expecting this here today, but I’ve had some good results in the past here. I was mainly enjoying it and it’s just nice that the bike worked without trying too many things.”
Van der Mark’s last podium in WorldSBK came at Mandalika in 2021 when he took third place in Race 2 in wet conditions. On that occasion van der Mark finished seven seconds down on race winner Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in a shortened 12-lap race. The Dutchman discussed whether there was podium potential in the M 1000 RR during the 2023 Indonesian Round as he looks to return to the rostrum. He said: “It’s difficult to say but we had a good start we want to maintain this position for sure. It’s been too long since I was on the podium so let’s hope.”
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