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Grip problems add to van der Mark's top-end woes at Aragon

It was not easy to see where the Yamaha lost pace in the corners at Motorland Aragon last weekend but it was plain that even the updated 2020 bike is not quite there with the Ducati and Kawasaki machinery.

Michael van der Mark enjoyed his Aragon weekend more than his ill-and-almost-invisible team-mate Toprak Razgatlioglu but it was not just hard work on the long straight.

“In the first few laps of race one, around turn 10, when the other guys were opening the throttle they were turning better and I just could not do the same. I was running wide,” the Dutchman told bikesportnews.com.


“When I had the grip I could not stay with them in these areas and I had to close the gap again on the brakes. That is OK for the first few laps but as soon as the grip drops I started to struggle more.”

And the bike is just not quick enough at the very top end, in general it seems. “We cannot change it,” said VDM. “It would make life a lot easier but we are in this situation and we can improve chassis setup, but we cannot get any better top speed, for sure not this weekend.

“It is what it is in any case. When Rinaldi (Ducati privateer) passed me - to be honest he was pretty slow in the corners - but on the straight he just pulls away. It is difficult to accept this but it is what it is. We know this. I do not want to complain too much about this because we know this problem and it has not been Yamaha’s strongest point before.

“But we have improved a lot. Now when I am in the slipstream I can at least stay with them. Before, they pulled away, so we have improved a little bit. But, when we are alone, yeah, it is not fast enough.”

Van der Mark was asked about whether this is a kind of Yamaha philosophical position - sacrificing top power but showing strong rideability. They seem to have the same top power problem in MotoGP, after all? Rideability over power, so to speak?

“I think that is what they are good at – rideability. All Yamahas seem to work really well here, same for GP. But they prefer to have a good handling bike, easier bike for everyone, than just focus on top speed. I think we have seen with, for example, Chaz the bike was really quick but he could not really get the feeling with the bike. The Yamaha is maybe not that quick but it is easy to get a good feeling with it. It is the safest way.”

And to win the world championship?

You need everything better, not just one part.”

With VDM heading off to full factory BMW Motorrad Motorsport ride for 2021, and the obvious problems and trouble they are having currently, is he concerned about that for his immediate future?

“If you look at it they are so unlucky this year, I think it should stop soon.”


On Sunday At Motorland VDM took his first ever podium at this venue, despite his lack of top end on that long, long straight.

“Not enough but I was really happy with my Superpole race. We made a good third place there and taking a good starting position for the last one. We tried to find a bit more grip, especially for halfway through the race.

In the second race I got a good start and was fast at the beginning but as soon as the grip dropped I struggled more than yesterday. That is a bit disappointing because I was riding really hard. But when the grip isn’t there, the top speed isn’t there, and the other guys, their bikes are a bit faster - so it is easier for them to pass me.

“Anyway, I think we can be quite satisfied with the weekend because I got my first podium in Aragon, so we know where to work – grip and turning on the exit of the corners.”

As he said, on the straights they cannot fix it right now, and he has another Motorland race to face in a few days’ time. He finally ran out 5-3-6 over the first race weekend at Aragon.

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