Michael van der Mark says he knew the Pata Yamaha package was capable of winning races this year and has relished the result having spent four years in the series before his maiden World Superbike win.
The Dutch rider produced a flawless race in the Donington Park opener to secure Yamaha’s first World Superbike win since the final race of the 2011 season and his first-ever race triumph in the series since stepping up as World Supersport champion in 2014.
Van der Mark moved up to third place during the opening-lap tussles to slot in behind the Kawasaki pair of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea who had dominated practice and qualifying at the British circuit.
After profiting from a mistake by Rea at the Melbourne Loop to move up to second at mid-race distance, van der Mark reeled in the gap to leader Sykes before pulling off a brave move up the inside at the same corner to lead with seven laps to go.
The Pata Yamaha rider managed the gap to Rea, who passed Sykes for second place, to seal a historic victory which also saw him become the first Dutch rider to win in the World Superbike championship.
“I am so happy with this first victory as it feels like we’ve been waiting for this victory for a long time,” van der Mark said. “We’ve been in the Superbike class for four years and finally I’ve got my first victory.
“The Yamaha project has been here for three years and we have had some podiums but finally a first victory. We showed everyone that the bike is improving and we are not there yet but today was fantastic.
“I’m so happy I’ve got my first victory and so happy for the team as they’ve been working on this for a long time. We know we can do it so I can’t wait for race two.”
Van der Mark’s maiden World Superbike race win moves up to fourth in the riders’ championship seven points ahead of Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Marco Melandri and 14 points Barni Ducati’s Xavi Fores.