Pata Honda rider Michael van der Mark is the 2014 FIM World Supersport champion after winning today’s ninth round race at Jerez in Spain.
Starting from pole position, the 21-year-old Dutch rider got a good start but ran wide going into turn one at the 4.423km Jerez circuit. There followed 19 laps of nail-biting racing between van der Mark, his championship rival Jules Cluzel and Florian Marino, who finished in third place today.
Cluzel had to finish ahead of van der Mark in order to keep this year’s championship alive and the French rider rode hard to stay ahead of the Pata Honda CBR600RR.
Van der Mark knew what was required, however, and took the lead at the most important time of the race with just two laps remaining. However, Cluzel pushed too hard at the end of the penultimate lap and crashed out at the last corner, leaving van der Mark to complete his victory.
The win today is his fifth World Supersport triumph of the season, giving him an unassailable 76-point lead in the series with two rounds remaining. Today also marked the 10th world championship for the Ten Kate Honda Racing partnership and the 10th World Supersport manufacturers’ title for Honda with its various incarnations of the remarkable CBR600RR machine.
Van der Mark’s Pata Honda team-mate, Lorenzo Zanetti, began today’s 19-lap race from second place on the grid but was unable to maintain his pace as grip levels dropped. The 27-year-old Italian eventually finished in sixth place but moved up to fourth in the championship standings.