Twenty-fourteen World Supersport Champion, Michael van der Mark, began the 2016 World Superbike season last weekend with two podium finishes: 3rd in Race 1, 2nd in Race 2. In his inaugural season last year, van der Mark scored three podiums, so he’s nearly matched his success last year in the first race of this year.
Joining van der Mark on the Honda World Superbike Team is 2006 MotoGP World Champion, Nicky Hayden. It’s been 13 years since Hayden’s piloted a superbike, but in his first outing aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Hayden finished 9th in Race 1 with tire problems, and 4th in Race 2, having 3rd place snatched away by Davide Giugliano in the closing stages.
At age 34, Hayden says he’s still hungry for another championship, but the ambitions of his 23-year-old teammate were on full display at Phillip Island. Will youth overcome experience? If you had to put money on one rider to outscore the other by season’s end would it be Hayden or van der Mark?