Round 6 of the 2018 Superbike World Championship saw Michael van der Mark make history and Toprak Razgatlıoglu claim a first career podium. It was the shot in the arm the series needed, and after great racing across all four classes there is a renewed optimism within the paddock.
Michael van der Mark made history by becoming the first ever Dutchman to win a WorldSBK race and the Yamaha rider followed it up by doing the double. It was a stunning weekend from the 25 year old and both race victories were emphatic. On Saturday he beat Jonathan Rea in a straight fight and on Sunday he rode a calm and collected race to claim a further 25 points and move into third in the standings. The 2014 WorldSSP champion has been one of the coming men of WorldSBK in recent years, but to get over the line with such style for a first victory was hugely impressive.
The talent of Toprak Razgatlıoglu has never been in doubt and on Sunday he showed exactly why by standing on the rostrum. Turkey may have lost their racing hero when Kenan Sofuoglu retired, but they didn't need to wait long for a replacement. Razgatlıoglu was superb in chasing down Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea in the final quarter of the race and when he made moves he made them stick. It was a smart performance from a talented rider to watch out for in the second half of the season.
What's gone wrong at Ducati?
There were few answers forthcoming from Ducati after an incredibly disappointing weekend. Michael Ruben Rinaldi didn't even make the start of Race 2 and Xavi Fores and Marco Melandri probably wished they hadn't made the start either. Chaz Davies was the leading Red Rider but struggled through to an eighth and a fifth place finish. Having missed out on dry running on Friday Davies was on the back foot throughout the weekend, but there was clearly an inherent issue for Ducati. The most likely reason is their gear ratio, fixed for the season, didn't suit Donington Park. They will need to bounce back in Brno after three trying rounds.
What price a wildcard?
Ana Carrasco dominated the Supersport 300 field once again and claimed the third victory of a suddenly blossoming career. The Spaniard has hit the headlines by hitting the front in the class but now needs to prove that she has improved since joining the WorldSBK paddock. Carrasco was a disappointing Moto3 rider that came to Supersport 300 as one of the few riders against whom others could be judged. Last year the likes of Marc Garcia were able to beat her and move on to other series but now team managers need to assess her again so they can judge the rest of the field. With Carrasco having won two races this year she now needs to prove her speed for the good of the class.
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