WSBK: Honda WorldSBK Race Two Report - Phillip Island

Michael van der Mark Race Action Shot

Honda Pro Racing Press Release:

The Honda WorldSBK Team successfully started its 2016 World Superbike campaign today with a podium finish scored by Michael van der Mark, who crossed the line in third place at the end of a breath-taking, 22-lap opening race of the season at Phillip Island. Nicky Hayden finished today's encounter – his first as full-time WorldSBK rider – in ninth position, after experiencing some front grip issues as the race reached its halfway point.

Both riders had a good launch from second and third row on the grid, respectively and rode within the top 5 in the opening laps. Van der Mark did not shy away from battle as he swapped positions several times with factory Ducati riders Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano. He ran as high as second and, as the race came down to the wire, he successfully defended third place from a recovering Giugliano.

Hayden spent the first part of the race learning his way around his new opponents and felt very comfortable aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP. He made up some positions as the laps went by and set his sights on his teammate, before being forced to slow his pace down due to grip issues at the front of his bike. He eventually ended up ninth, collecting seven points and a lot of data ahead of this weekend's second race, scheduled for tomorrow at 15:00 local time.

Nicky Hayden Race Action Shot

Michael van der Mark 60 - 3rd:

I’m really happy with this podium! This morning we were consistently fast and I felt great on the bike. I had a really good start to the race, managed to stay with the guys and keep their pace quite easily. I was basically trying to save the rear tyre. It was such a nice fight with the (Ducati) guys and a really great race. I was quicker in some corners but they were better in other and this meant there were a lot of overtakes. At the end I wanted to push more but the grip at the front was just not quite there, not as much as I would have loved at least. I struggled a little bit but did my best to stay with Johnny and Chaz, while the gap with fourth position stayed the same and so I was able to bring home this podium finish. For tomorrow we need to improve just a little bit more and then we’ll see how it goes.

Nicky Hayden 69 - 9th:

Superpole wasn’t too bad, we did a decent lap-time and I was hoping I could at least get a spot on the second row. I got a great start to the race and tried to stay smooth, in order to understand everything around me - where I was fast, where I wasn’t and how my opponents were riding. Unfortunately, at halfway through the race I started to lose grip at the front and from then on all I could do was just trying to stay on the bike and finish the race. We need if it was the tyre, the settings or my riding style. It was frustrating because at the beginning of the race I was feeling good and having fun. Congratulations to Michael and the team, he did a great race. Hopefully we can improve tomorrow morning and do a more consistent race.

Pieter Breddels- Technical Manager:

After just two short sessions, we had our first race of the season and it felt quite strange because of the new schedule. The guys did a good Superpole, then had a great start of the race. Michael fought hard for the podium for basically all 22 laps, especially with the two Ducatis. He was in the four-way pack that battled for the win until the closing stages; he hung in there and was just four tenths away from second place at the line. We’re very happy with third place and we’ll try to improve some more, with the goal to challenge for the win until the very end. Nicky also had a great start to the race and was making his way up, he definitely looked comfortable on the bike. Unfortunately, with ten laps to go his front-tire grip started to drop. He was forced to give up several positions and crossed the line in ninth place, which is a bit disappointing especially for him, as he felt very good in the first half. We need to take a look at the data, see what happened and eventually make some changes to the set up for tomorrow.

Race #2 Results:

1     Rea     65     GBR     25     Kawasaki Racing Team     Kawasaki     33'48.377

2     van der Mark     60     NDL     20     Honda WorldSBK     Honda     +0.831

3     Giugliano     34     ITA     16     Aruba.it Racing     Ducati     +1.472

4     Hayden     69     USA     13     Honda WorldSBK     Honda     +1.511

5     Guintoli     50     FRA     11     Pata Yamaha     Yamaha     +2.439

6     Sykes     66     GBR     10     Kawasaki Racing Team     Kawasaki     +3.320

7     Torres     81     SPA     9     Althea BMW Racing Team     BMW     +13.744

8     Reiterberger     21     GER     8     Althea BMW Racing Team     BMW     +15.084

9     Brookes     25     AUS     7     Milwaukee BMW     BMW     +15.106

10     Davies     7     GBR     6     Aruba.it Racing     Ducati     +16.276

11     Abraham     17     CZE     5     Milwaukee BMW     BMW     +30.147

12     Ramos     40     SPA     4     Team Go Eleven     Kawasaki     +30.251

13     De Angelis     15     RSM     3     IodaRacing Team     Aprilia     +30.437

14     Lowes     22     GBR     2     Pata Yamaha     Yamaha     +39.946

15     Barrier     11     QAT     1     Team Pedercini     Kawasaki     +53.515

16     Schmitter     9     SWI     0     Grillini Racing Team     Kawasaki     +58.450

17     Al Sulaiti     11     QAT     0     Team Pedercini     Kawasaki     +1'01.836

18     Sebestyen     56     HUN     0     Team Toth     Yamaha     +1'30.672

19     Toth     10     HUN     0     Team Toth     Yamaha     +1 Lap

NC     Jones     46     AUS     0     Desmo Sport Ducati     Ducati     DNF

For more information: www.hondaproracing.com

56d1541d1f24d

56d153f30d06e