The Honda WorldSBK Racing Team is on the prowl and looking for a big win at Thailand-hosted racing event.
Honda’s Michael van der Mark tops the first day of the MOTUL Thai Round at Chang International Circuit in Thailand. The Dutch rider has became the first rider to post a lap under 1’35. Van der Mark’s time has proved good enough to stay at the top of the timesheets until the end of the session.
Second place was Yamaha’s Sylvain Guintoli, followed by Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres. Today’s morning’s ride saw British rider Leon Carnier go fastest on his MV Augusta. The British posted 1’36.047 time just under three tenths of a second faster than Honda WorldSBK Team’s Nick Hayden and Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea. They were followed by Honda and Kawasaki drivers Michael van Der Mark and Tom Sykes.
Ducati team’s Chaz Davies has crashed in the second race and handed Rea an early advantage in the season. But the crash is just a smaller disadvantage for Davies and did nothing to diminish the strength of the entire Ducati Racing team.
Yamaha’s Sylvain Guintoli is the only rider in the Thai event to come within two tenths of Van Der Mark’s lap of 0.182 seconds, while Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres went just ahead of Yamaha’s Alex Lowes.
The top ten drivers in the Friday’ session will automatically enter to Tissot-Superbole 2 on Saturday.
Defending champion Jonathan Rea is looking for another victory in Thailand to become the first rider since 2003 to win the opening four races of the season. But it’s an easy task for the Kawasaki driver. Rivals are coming fast and they are closing in the gap. Rea need to work hard to keep the charge of Ducati Racing’s Chaz Davies in Race 1 and Honda’s Michael van der Mark in Race 2.
The defending champion Rea still seems the fastest and the most complete package on the track, but it doesn’t appear to be the same gulf in performance compared to what he had done last year.
The World SuperBike (WorldSBK) has a long history of motor racing in Asia. More than a tenth of the races in the history of the World SuperBike Championship have been hosted in Asia, which about 70 out of the total 696 run.