Michael van der Mark heads into his home race in Assen this weekend with his sights set firmly on securing his first podium finishes of the season. The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider came close in Thailand with a trio of fourth place finishes, but the podium has so far remained elusive, a situation that van der Mark is keen to rectify in front of his passionate and vocal home crowd in Assen this weekend. On form Alex Lowes arrives in Assen with exactly the same goal as his Pata Yamaha teammate and, with four podium finishes to his name already this season, confident that he can take the fight to his rivals at a track on which he has amassed a lot of previous experience.
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Sandro Cortese, heads into the Assen weekend determined to continue the run of form that has seen the WorldSBK rookie finish inside the top ten in all nine races held so far this season. The former Moto3 and reigning Supersport World Champion has a long history of racing in Assen, a circuit that he counts as one of the most beautiful on the WorldSBK calendar.
Having endured difficult weekends in Thailand and Aragon, Marco Melandri arrives in Assen determined to get his 2019 championship campaign back on track, at a circuit where he’s been a podium finisher previously. The Italian struggled to find a set-up on his R1 to inspire confidence in the previous two rounds but is confident that the technically challenging 4.542km Assen circuit will be better suited to the combination of the Yamaha R1 and his super smooth riding style.
The action gets underway at Assen with WorldSBK FP1 at 10.30 on Friday morning, with lights out for Race 1 at 14.00 on Saturday. The new for 2019 Sprint Race is at 11.00 on Sunday, with Race 2 rounding out the weekend’s activities at 14.00.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK
“I can’t wait to get this weekend started. The home race brings some added pressure, as you can feel the expectations of the crowd, but I always enjoy racing in Assen. It’s a special race, always really busy with a lot of fans and I really appreciate their support. I head into the Assen round confident that I can fight for the podium and, hopefully, I can repay the fans for the support I always get at home by giving them something to cheer about in the three races this weekend.”
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK
“I’ve always enjoyed racing at Assen, starting with when I was racing in the British Superbike Championship and we used to make the journey across the North Sea to race here. The Dutch fans are always fantastic; very knowledgeable and very passionate, so it’s a great atmosphere all weekend. I’m feeling really confident with my R1 after the first three rounds but, once again, we will need to stay focused and work hard on Friday if we are to ensure we have the bike and the set-up to challenge for the podium over the weekend. That’s my target and that’s what we’ll be working towards as always. It’s Michael’s home race and the support he gets here is massive, so all the best to him for the weekend ahead and, hopefully, I can feed off that positive energy too.”
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