Honda rider Michael van der Mark says his goal in this weekend’s World Superbike Championship event at Imola, where he enjoys riding, will be a top five finish.
Last year at Imola, Van der Mark struggled, finishing Race One in ninth position and then being forced to retire from Race Two in his rookie season.
The Dutch rider is sitting in fourth place on the current rider standings with 90 points from four events, well behind Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea topping the standings with 181 points.
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Due to improvements made to the Fireblade CBR1000RR SP over the past 12 months, the 23-year-old feels that he can be challenging near the top of the grid this weekend at a circuit he really likes.
“I’m really looking forward to Imola, a track that I really enjoy riding,” van der Mark said. “With the big improvements made to the Fireblade over the winter and in the first four rounds, I’m pretty sure we will be much more competitive than last year.
“Given the many podiums we have collected so far, my goal for the Italian round is to be at least in the top 5.
“The team and I have some ideas to improve the bike setup and we will try some new things, which we didn’t have time to evaluate in Assen.”