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Van der Mark: “To fight for points was amazing”

Dutchman reflects on his MotoGP™ debut

Michael van der Mark finally got his MotoGP™ debut in the Malaysian GP, drafted in to replace the ill Jonas Folger at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 after first being tipped to replace Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) at Aragon. Van der Mark, the 2014 World Supersport Champion and Yamaha WorldSBK rider, was hit with all weather at Sepang – and fought for points on race day despite the difficult conditions.

"I am really happy with the result,” says van der Mark. “Even though it was typical Malaysia and just before the race commenced, it rained again! The team and I changed the bike considerably compared to Friday when it was wet and we went softer on the rear. I had quite a good start, and the first half of the GP went very positively as I followed the guys in front of me and I fought with a lot of riders.”

One of those riders was Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), and van der Mark was able to follow the factory rider in the worst conditions before concentrating on finishing the race – just missing out on a point when he was caught by Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) at the end.

Qualifying ✅ Ready for race day tomorrow‼️ @monsterenergy #Yamaha #Tech3 #MotoGP #GoMickey #MalaysianGP

A post shared by Monster Yamaha Tech3 (@monsteryamahatech3) on

“I’m pleased with my performance, even if I wasn’t completely happy with the bike,” affirms the Dutchman. “But it was only my second time on the YZR-M1 in the wet. In my eyes, to fight for the points and follow Maverick was really amazing. When it dried a little bit, I struggled slightly more than him, yet I could run a similar pace. I think I lacked a bit of confidence with the turning of the bike, otherwise, I may have been able to stay with the big group in front of me. I hoped to catch them with Maverick, but I also wanted to finish the race, which I did. Overall, I enjoyed the weekend a lot and my first experience with the YZR-M1 was just amazing."

Van der Mark is next out on track in WorldSBK for the season finale at Losail International Circuit in Qatar.