Pata Honda’s Michael Van Der Mark is the new World Supersport champion, after he took home maximum points after battling for the victory at Jerez.
It was a hard race for the Dutchman as he had to fight it out with title rival MV Agusta’s Jules Cluzel, but the Frenchman crashed leaving the 21-year-old to take the spoils in spectacular style.
“I can’t believe it right now, it has been a long season and it has been my dream to be world champion. I want to thank my family and my sponsors too. The team have done an amazing job, and we had an amazing bike and I still can’t believe it,” said Van Der Mark at the track.
It was also a great race for CIA Insurance Honda’s Jack Kennedy and DMC Panavto-Yamaha’s Kev Coghlan. They made up for a mediocre start and at the flag came away with fourth and fifth place finishes.
Initially it was Intermoto’s Florian Marino who got the best start ahead of Van Der Mark, on lap one, but he made a mistake and fell back to fifth, allowing Cluzel and Jacobsen to edge on ahead.
But the fastest rider on the opening lap was last placed San Carlo’s Kenan Sofuoglu. He started from the pits after using an extra engine during qualifying yesterday – and was under a mission to take move his way up the grid.
Former MCE British Superbike contender went up to second after a move on Cluzel going into Michelin. But Van Der Mark was fighting back and overtook title rival Cluzel to retake third going out of Sito Pons, with 13 laps remaining.
Next the young Dutchman had the small American figure of Jacobson as his next target, and made his move, as Jacobson went wide at Michelin and Van Der Mark took advantage of the New Yorker’s mistake to go into second.
But Cluzel was not down and out, and fought back to get the better of the Pata Honda rider, to go back into second on board his MV Agusta machine, but went wide at Sito Pons, allowing Van Der Mark to go underneath the Frenchman.
Over the half way mark on lap ten, Cluzel, who started from the third row led the race for the first time, after making a move on fellow countryman Marino. But the Intermoto rider went under Cluzel to go into first, with Van Der Mark following suit.
At Peluqui on the 13th rotation, the Pata bike was back in front, but Marino and Cluzel were not giving up just yet, and were tight on his tail. With three laps remaining at Ferrari, Cluzel took back second from Van Der Mark, to keep his championship hopes alive.
Meanwhile Kennedy and Coghlan were making their mark inside the top ten with both Celts in fifth and sixth respectively, with two laps left to the Supersport race. But on the penultimate lap Cluzel crashed at turn 13 – handing the championship to Van Der Mark.
With Cluzel out, Marino ended up getting caught up in the crash, allowing Jacobsen to go into second and moved Kennedy and Coghlan in to fourth and fifth, with Pata Honda’s Lorenzo Zanetti completing the top six.