Prior to the Spain campaign for WSBK, the BMW rider found himself on the receiving end of a mountain bike crash that left his leg broken and in need of surgery to heal. The Dutchman, unfortunately, will not make it to the WSBK opener happening next weekend from April 8 to 10, 2022.
BMW responds to this matter by letting van der Mark sit out the first race of the season and letting the Ukrainian rider, Ilya Mikhalchik have a go on the WSBK-spec M1000RR. Mikhalchik is acquainted with the BMW superbike, having tested it in Barcelona. He will continue to get more runs with the bike at the Dorna-supported test at Aragon on Monday and Tuesday prior to making his WSBK debut on the same track.
Michael van der Mark was quoted saying: It has been a difficult decision but unfortunately I will not try to ride at Motorland Aragon,” which is a more wise choice given that the Dutchman’s injury happened quite close to the opener for the 2022 WSBK season.
“At this moment we have to be smart and stay calm because this is the only way forward in my recovery. I really miss working with teh team and riding my BMW M1000RR but right now my goal is to be fit again as soon as possible,” adds van der Mark.
With that being said, Mikhalchik will join Scott Redding in BMW’s factory racing squad for the 2022 WSBK opener happening in Aragon, Spain at the Motorland race track. As for Mikhalchik’s performance, he ended the Spanish test in 16th place, over a second off the pace of Redding. Being the more experienced rider, Redding managed to net seventh place in the test runs last week, being only one-and-a-half seconds slower than Toprak Razgatlioglu from the Yamaha factory team.
It remains to be seen when Michael van der Mark will return to the WSBK stage for BMW. For now, the goal is to recover and get back up to speed.