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Michael van der Mark joyous after first podium of 2018

Credit: Yamaha Racing

Michael van der Mark was overjoyed with his second place finish in the second race at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand. ‘Magic Michael’ took his 12th WSBK podium, beating teammate Alex Lowes in what was a frantic race during the opening few laps.

Van der Mark took his third career podium with Yamaha in WSBK, as he hailed the Crescent Racing Team’s progress and bold decision to revert back to their Friday set up. It is also the second podium for van der Mark in Thailand, with his first coming at Ten Kate Honda in 2016.

“I am so happy with this result! Yesterday, I wasn’t happy at all after the race because I struggled so much. Then this morning we changed the bike and it didn’t feel like an improvement so for the race we took a gamble and went back to Friday’s setup. We changed the front tyre and it also helped us a little bit,” said the Dutchman.

“After the start I was fast, I had a nice battle with Alex again, then Chaz Davies passed me and I tried to stay with him for a long time but he was just a bit quicker than me in some sectors. The pace was quite good and I saw that we were opening a gap to Alex in third.

“At the end, it was quite difficult for me to stay with Chaz, but then I saw I could manage the gap behind me. So, second place after the results from yesterday and at Phillip Island was really positive! I was riding at the limit but the limit today was a lot further than yesterday so it was a big improvement from Race 1,” he continued.

Looking ahead to the Aragon round in three weeks time, the 25-year-old Dutchman hopes to keep up the momentum and end the chase for the elusive first WSBK victory and also Yamaha’s first victory since 2011. In 2017, van der Mark took two fifth-places in the races.

“Aragon is a completely different track so it will be interesting to see how the R1 goes there but after the first two races of the season, I am really happy. There are still a few things I want to improve but if we can start on Friday at Aragon with the same pace and feeling we had today, I will be very happy!”

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