Van Der Mark extends Championship lead in Portugal

Pata Honda’s Michael van der Mark goes into a World Supersport championship summer break with a healthy points lead after taking his fourth win of the season in round eight at the Autodromo Internacional Alrgarve in Portugal today.

Starting from second place on the grid, the 21-year-old Dutch ace took his Honda CBR600RR into the lead after six of a scheduled 18-laps and then controlled the race before rain brought out red flags on the 13th lap. Jack Kennedy on another Honda CBR600RR finished second today, ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu, who was third.

Van der Mark extended his remarkable podium run that has seen him finish no lower than second for the last seven races and, with his main championship rival, Jules Cluzel, failing to score today, he enjoys a 53-point lead at the top of the table.

His Pata Honda team-mate Lorenzo Zanetti finished in sixth place today, despite being fifth when the red flags emerged. The 27-year-old Italian dropped one position on a lap countback but still managed to close the gap to second place in the championship.

The World Supersport series now takes an extended nine-week break over the summer months, returning to Jerez in Spain on 5-7 September. However, both Pata Honda riders will travel to Japan this week to test for Honda in preparation for the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour race which takes place on 27 July.

Michael van der Mark - 1st

We’ve been strong all weekend in all sessions and, together with Kenan [Sofuoglu], I think we have been a step ahead of the others here. My start was OK but I didn’t want to take all the risks in the first few corners. I was looking at the guys in front of me to see where I was stronger and I tried to pass them one by one. Kenan made a mistake so I passed him and then I got past Jack. I knew I had a good pace for the race and the others would struggle to follow my rhythm and in the end I saw that Jules [Cluzel] wasn’t in the points any more so I slowed down a bit. I guess I was quite lucky that the rain came at the same point and the red flag came out, which made the win a little bit easier. But I think I could have won anyway because we have been so strong all weekend. I want to thank the team again fo r giving me such a good CBR from the first session, it was really fast and had really good handling.

Lorenzo Zanetti - 6th

If you look on paper at the results, then sixth place at my worst track is not so bad. But when I look back at the race I am a little angry and frustrated because all weekend I had a good rhythm but, like in Misano, I lost a lot in the first five laps. Both times I have been stopped aggressively by Marino because we are fighting in the championship. When I got past and I could ride alone, my rhythm was really good and I could match the pace of Michael. I think that if I hadn’t been held up at the start, maybe I could have been closer to the podium. This is racing of course and then I was put back a place for the red flag, so fifth became sixth. But my compliments to Mikey and the team – they did a great job and I hope to be back strong in September to fight for the podium.

Pieter Breddels- technical co-ordinator

Lorenzo was sixth and maybe it should have been a fifth, but for the red flag. Of course, we always want to battle for the podium but we can be reasonably happy because this is definitely not his favourite circuit. Third place in the championship is still a target for him after the summer break. Michael fought his way to the front and was extending his lead before the rain arrived. In the end he won while his closest rival did not score today and this is a great cushion to go into the break with. Compliments to his team as well for sticking with plan A as far as tyre choice is concerned. They all did a great job this weekend.

Race Results - AIA Portimao, 4.592km - 12 laps

1 Michael van der Mark 21m15.438s NED HONDA Pata Honda World Supersport Team2 Jack Kennedy +1.649s IRL HONDA CIA Insurance Honda3 Kenan Sofuoglu +1.961s TUR KAWASAKI MAHI Racing Team India4 Raffaele De Rosa +8.042s ITA HONDA Core PTR Honda5 Patrick Jacobson +8.095s USA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres6 Lorenzo Zanetti +8.538s ITA HONDA Pata Honda World Supersport Team7 Kev Coghlan +11.045s GBR YAMAHA DMC Panavto-Yamaha8 Florian Marino +11.847s FRA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres9 Roberto Rolfo +12.624s ITA KAWASAKI Team GO Eleven10 Massimo Roccoli +15.448s ITA MV MV Agusta Reparto CorseChampionship Standings1 Michael van der Mark 160 pts NED HONDA Pata Honda World Supersport Team2 Jules Cluzel 107 pts FRA MV MV Agusta RC3 Florian Marino 93 pts FRA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres4 Kenan Sofuoglu 83 pts TUR KAWASAKI MAHI Racing Team India5 Lorenzo Zanetti 80 pts ITA HONDA Pata Honda World Supersport Team6 Kenan Sofuoglu 77 pts TUR KAWASAKI MAHI Racing Team India7 Patrick Jacobson 67 pts USA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres8 Raffaele De Rosa 67 pts ITA HONDA Core PTR Honda9 Roberto Rolfo 62 pts ITA KAWASAKI Team GO Eleven10 Roberto Tamburini 48 pts ITA KAWASAKI San Carlo Puccetti Racing