Honda’s Michael van der Mark had a mixed weekend in Thailand as he struggled to convert his pole position into a podium in race two.
Race one saw the young Dutchman fight for the top stop in the early stages before dropping off from the pace of the Kawasaki front runners.
van der Mark had a similar start to race two but was able to stay up with the leaders up until the mid-way point of the race, when he started to drop off the pace as Chaz Davies caught him and he crossed the line in fourth position.
Only one point off second in the championship standings, van der Mark left the weekend happy: “It was not an easy race but I have to be happy with the result. Pole position, third place in race one and now a fourth place definitely surpass the expectations we had before the round, given the difficulties encountered last year. I’m really happy about the bike and my own pace.
We decided not to change the front tyre type for race two and, although we knew it was a bit of a gamble, it turned out not to be best choice. It was a risk we had to take and we have 13 more points to add to our tally.”
American team-mate Nicky Hayden had a similarly mixed weekend in his debut WSBK season, as he secured a top five finish on Sunday after a DNF in race one.
Making steady progress throughout the race in the intense heat and humidity, the American moved up into the top five on lap 11 of 20 and had a seemingly lonely race as he continues to learn the series.
Hayden explains: “I must say that the bike felt a lot better today. We made a lot of changes overnight and I simply just felt more comfortable, maybe not perfect but surely the improvement was there. I was able to ride without making mistakes and the bike was perfectly smooth. I would lie if I didn’t say that after the warm up I thought I could have put up a better fight, but nonetheless I learned a lot again and overall it was a good weekend.”