Rokit BMW’s Michael van der Mark completed the opening day at Mandalika fifth in the WorldSBK free practice times.
A second home to the Dutchman with Indonesian family ties, Lombok’s 4.3km Pertamina Circuit is a favourite for the 30-year-old and after a challenging season opener at Phillip Island, he came out fighting with a 1’33.213 best in FP2.
“Was a good Friday, I was enjoying it,” van der Mark confirmed from Mandalika. “Is one of my favourite tracks. This morning we didn’t do a lot of laps because the track was dirty and the tyres were going really quick so I decided to wait a bit and in the afternoon went out, basically didn’t change anything on the bike.
“Threw the first set of tyres in at the end and I felt good so I’m happy that the base is good, is fast.
“Obviously tomorrow the track will be different again and we have to see where we are then. It’s a good start and I’m really, really motivated.”
While the results on paper weren’t quite what van der Mark would have hoped for as 2023 kicked off in Australia last weekend, he’s confident of the potential with the M1000RR and hoping to recreate his podium performance from 2021.
“Honestly in Philip Island race two, I think my pace until lap 14 wasn’t that bad,” he said of his 12th place finish. “I was already quite happy with the progress we made there. Obviously I was not expecting this today here but also in the past we had some good results here. I was mainly enjoying it and it’s just nice that the bike worked without trying too many things.
“It’s been too long [since the podium] so yeah, that’s what we are aiming for.”