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MICHAEL VAN DER MARK: YOU CAN SEE AND FEEL THIS IS THE BIGGEST RACE OF THE YEAR!

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Motul
09 August

Michael Van Der Mark is a title defender at the Suzuka 8 Hours and was poised to hand Yamaha its fifth consecutive win, which was almost the case. We had a swift chat with ‘Magic Michael’ during Saturday’s rain while he gave his take on the event.

Michael, you’re back at Suzuka, hunting for another win. What does being here mean to you?

Coming here is always amazing. It’s an honour to be asked by the factory team to join them here alongside Alex and Katsuyuki-san. It’s one of my favourite places to race in the entire world, so I was really happy to be asked to join them again, and honestly, it would have been impossible for me to say no to this, anyway.

What makes this track so special?

Suzuka has a lot to offer, really, there’s a little bit of everything here. It’s a very old school track, which also means that it’s definitely not the safest track to ride a bike on. But it’s the combination of the challenging track and the good vibe here that makes this place so magical.

You’re racing for Japanese honours here. This race means a lot to Japanese constructors. Do you feel pressure?

This race is, without any doubt, the biggest race for Yamaha. You can see it just by the amount of people involved, the way the bike is developed, and the way they take care of us. You really feel how important it is to them and this, of course, adds some pressure when you get on your bike.

How different is this machine compared to your Superbike?

On the one hand, it’s different. The fuel tank is a lot bigger, the tires are different as is the suspension, so it’s a very different bike to ride. But on the other hand, it remains a Yamaha R1, so it still feels very familiar.

This time you share a bike with Alex and Katsuyuki-san. For whom did you set-up the bike?

Actually, in this case it’s really easy. Katsuyuki-san has done so many laps on this track and on this bike that he just sets the bike up perfectly and we just follow. Honestly, the riding position and set-up is far from ideal for me, yet I still manage to be fast with it, which I think is astonishing. So Katsuyuki-san knows best and we follow his lead.

Would you consider a career in EWC?

Let’s just say, at this point I really enjoy coming here every year and if it’s possible, I hope to come back every year in the future, but at the moment my heart is at WSBK. For now, it’s the ideal mix for me.Michael Van Der Mark is a title defender at the Suzuka 8 Hours and was poised to hand Yamaha its fifth consecutive win, which was almost the case. We had a swift chat with ‘Magic Michael’ during Saturday’s rain while he gave his take on the event.

Michael, you’re back at Suzuka, hunting for another win. What does being here mean to you?

Coming here is always amazing. It’s an honour to be asked by the factory team to join them here alongside Alex and Katsuyuki-san. It’s one of my favourite places to race in the entire world, so I was really happy to be asked to join them again, and honestly, it would have been impossible for me to say no to this, anyway.

What makes this track so special?

Suzuka has a lot to offer, really, there’s a little bit of everything here. It’s a very old school track, which also means that it’s definitely not the safest track to ride a bike on. But it’s the combination of the challenging track and the good vibe here that makes this place so magical.

You’re racing for Japanese honours here. This race means a lot to Japanese constructors. Do you feel pressure?

This race is, without any doubt, the biggest race for Yamaha. You can see it just by the amount of people involved, the way the bike is developed, and the way they take care of us. You really feel how important it is to them and this, of course, adds some pressure when you get on your bike.

How different is this machine compared to your Superbike?

On the one hand, it’s different. The fuel tank is a lot bigger, the tires are different as is the suspension, so it’s a very different bike to ride. But on the other hand, it remains a Yamaha R1, so it still feels very familiar.

This time you share a bike with Alex and Katsuyuki-san. For whom did you set-up the bike?

Actually, in this case it’s really easy. Katsuyuki-san has done so many laps on this track and on this bike that he just sets the bike up perfectly and we just follow. Honestly, the riding position and set-up is far from ideal for me, yet I still manage to be fast with it, which I think is astonishing. So Katsuyuki-san knows best and we follow his lead.

Would you consider a career in EWC?

Let’s just say, at this point I really enjoy coming here every year and if it’s possible, I hope to come back every year in the future, but at the moment my heart is at WSBK. For now, it’s the ideal mix for me.

Picture credits: Frederik Herregods

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