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Michael van der Mark to Replace Valentino Rossi at Aragón

24-year-old Michael van der Mark, contracted with Yamaha as a WSB rider, will replace the injured Valentino Rossi at the next MotoGP round at the Aragón track.  Mr. van der Mark is known as an aggressive, skillful rider in WSB (where he is currently ranked 7th in points), and he was a member of the three-rider team that recently won the prestigious Suzuka 8-Hours event.

Here is the announcement from the Movistar Yamaha Team with quotes from Team Manager Lin Jarvis and Michael van der Mark:

Yamaha’s WorldSBK rider Michael van der Mark will be riding Valentino Rossi’s YZR-M1 in round 14 of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship, staged at the MotorLand Aragón track in Spain, while the Italian is recovering from his leg injury.

Rossi is making good progress with his rehabilitation process. However, it is expected that he will not be able to compete again before the Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi, held from October 13th – 15th.

For the Aragón race, Van der Mark will be backed by Rossi’s usual crew. This opportunity will provide the 24-year-old with a similar MotoGP experience to the one fellow Yamaha WorldSBK rider and 2017 Suzuka 8-hours Endurance Race winner Alex Lowes was given last year. The Brit replaced Bradley Smith in the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team at the British, San Marino, and Aragón Grand Prix.

Unlike Lowes, who had the benefit of some testing mileage in Brno, Czech Republic, prior to taking part in the MotoGP weekends, Van der Mark will debut in the premier class on the YZR-M1 without any training. Nevertheless, the three-time Suzuka8H winner is well accustomed to the demands of working for a factory team. The Dutchman is also no stranger to the MotoGP paddock, having competed in seven 125cc Grands Prix in 2010, and in the 2011 Moto2 race in Assen, the Netherlands. Moreover, his experience in the FIM Superbike (WorldSBK) and Supersport World Championships, and the European Superstock 600 make him well acquainted with the MotorLand Aragón circuit, having raced there seven times before.

Lin Jarvis
Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing

“Following Valentino’s crash on Thursday, August 31st, Yamaha decided not to replace him at the San Marino Grand Prix, but for the next Grand Prix in Aragón the team is obliged to enter two riders. It being virtually impossible for Valentino to be fit to race in Aragón, Yamaha decided to search for a capable replacement from within its own pool of contracted riders. Having previously used Katsuyuki Nakasuga to fill in for Jorge Lorenzo in 2011 and Alex Lowes to replace Bradley Smith in 2016, we decided that Michael van der Mark should have the opportunity this time around. It is never easy to step in to replace another rider and even more difficult to replace Valentino Rossi, but we believe that Michael has all the credentials and experience to do a good job. We will give him our very best support and wish him every success for this exciting opportunity. We also hope that Valentino will continue to make a rapid recovery and that we will see him again, back on his YZR-M1, on the earliest possible occasion.”

Michael van der Mark
Yamaha Factory Racing Rider

“I’m excited to be given the opportunity to ride the YZR-M1 at the Aragón MotoGP round. I’ve never ridden a MotoGP bike before, so this will be a completely new experience for me. I’m very curious to see what it feels like to ride on such a machine. I realise that it won’t be easy going straight into an official practice session without any prior testing. Nevertheless, I’m very grateful to Yamaha for the opportunity. I’m sure it will be a great learning experience.”


Michael van der Mark Personal Profile:

Date of birth: 26-10-1992

Place of birth: Gouda, The Netherlands

Nationality: Dutch

Height: 180 cm

Weight: 69 kg

Marital state: In a relationship

Career Highlights:

2017: Currently 7th in the Superbike World Championship / Winner Suzuka 8-hours

2016: 4th Superbike World Championship

2015: 7th Superbike World Championship

2014: 1st Supersport World Championship / Winner Suzuka 8-hours

2013: 4th Supersport World Championship / Winner Suzuka 8-hours

2012: 1st European Superstock 600 Championship

2011: 3rd European Superstock 600 Championship / Wildcard – Moto2 GP, Assen

2010: Seven 125cc Grands Prix / European Superstock 600 Championship

2009: 1st ONK Dutch 125cc Championship / 18th Dutch 125cc GP

2008: 1st ONK Dutch 125cc Championship / Selected CEV Spanish Championship

2007: 2nd ONK Dutch 125cc Championship

2006: 2nd Dutch Junior Cup

2005: 4th Dutch Junior Cup

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  1. Provologna says:

    “…replace…” VR46?????


  2. PatrickD says:

    Whilst his teammate (Alex Lowes) is ahead of VDM in the points table, I think this is a good choice.
    I think that wildcards always bring something else to the race, and it’s a pity VDM is not taking part in Assen, where the local knowledge and support would bolster him.
    It’s be nice if Honda and Yamaha made a bike available to a ‘local’ rider at rounds where there’s little or no local-interest riders participating in MotoGP. Hell, Rabat doesn’t do very much with his Honda most weekends….

  3. mickey says:

    In for a rude awakening when he finds out EVERYONE in the MotoGP paddock is faster than the top guys in WSBK

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Rea and Davies are not slower than everyone in MotoGP, IMHO.

      • Pacer says:

        Watch out Dirck, Norm will start qouting the book of NATCORK pretty soon. 🙂

        • Norm G. says:

          wait, did somebody say NATCORK…? 🙂

          don’t think he was necessarily referencing this as much as he was simply pointing out that WSBK lap times are just as fast (if not faster) than some GP times at certain tracks now.

      • mickey says:

        Yet when ex WSBK riders move up to MotoGP they rarely do well, and when Mfgs and satellite teams look for new riders they skip over WSBK riders and cherry pick from Moto2 and Moto3 riders.

        There are exceptions of course but they are rare indeed. Look how Spies just dominated WSBK (28 starts 14 wins, 17 podiums 11 poles) but washed out of MotoGP with 55 starts, 6 podiums 1 win 1 pole

        • mickey says:

          case in point Marc VDS team in 2018 will have Luthi and Morbidelli, from Moto2 …not Rea, Sykes or Davies from WSBK

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “when ex WSBK riders move up to MotoGP they rarely do well, and when Mfgs and satellite teams look for new riders they skip over WSBK riders and cherry pick from Moto2”

          behold, you’re standing at the intersection of Politics and NATCORK. (tourist map on side of red telephone box says “you are here”)

          re: “Spies just dominated WSBK (28 starts 14 wins, 17 podiums 11 poles)”


          re: “but washed out of MotoGP with 55 starts, 6 podiums 1 win 1 pole”

          aw man.

          • mickey says:

            Norm I am not naive enough to think that politics doesn’t play some role in choosing riders for a team. I’m also not foolish enough to think when a sponsor pays out untold millions of dollars that he doesn’t want some return on his investment, regardless of nationality OR one of two comparable available riders if picking a certain nationality. Italians and Spaniards dominate MotoGP because their respective countries care the most about motorcycle racing, and have the best amateur programs, but that doesn’t mean guys like Stoner and Miller (Australian) Crutchlow, Lowes, Redding and Smith (British) Zarco and Baz (French) Spies, Hayden, (American) Folger, (German) don’t get a shot if they show they have the talent

      • David Evans says:


    • Dave says:

      I wonder if they said that about Troy Bayliss?

      • mickey says:

        Yep good example

        WSBK 152 starts 52 wins 94 podiums 26 poles

        MotoGP 45 starts 1 win 5 podiums 0 poles

        Great WSBK racer, so-so MotoGP racer

        • Dave says:

          That’s a better MotoGP record than the vast majority of riders to have raced the class, and in the past 15-20 years, one (other than Casey Stoner) would’ve had to land on one of the only four win capable bikes in the paddock to do any better.

          • mickey says:

            Well you don’t stick an unproven rider on one of the few top bikes to start with ( Marquez being the exception there) generally you have to start on a satellite team or lesser mfg, show some promise there, and then work your way up to a premier class ride when one opens up by finishing consistantly right behind those top factory riders. Think Spies, Simoncelli, Crutchlow, Dovisioso, Vinales, Zarco, etc. You don’t get handed one of the top 4 rides, until one opens up and you deserve to sit in the seat.

            You don’t get to start in place of Tom Brady because you won a few college games.

            Each guy on a factory ride has earned his way to that ride, and rarely loses that ride, unless he voluntaritly gives it up, he doesn’t live up to his reputation, or someone else shows phenominal potential (like Marquez). Even Vinales would not be on a factory Yamaha had Lorenzo not voluntarily given up that seat chasing the greenbacks, and neither Honda or Yamaha is going to give that seat to a WSBK rider, no matter how many WSBK races he won. Not going to happen. I am suprised that VDM is getting a ride, even as a guest ride. Usually a factory test rider gets to fill in.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Spies landed one of the coveted four and failed to make an impression. That said, I do agree with your point.

    • Brian says:

      I don’t buy that for WSBK (e.g., look at Skyes vs. Baz, 2014). Maybe not even BSB or MotoAmerica.

      The MotoGP bikes really aren’t that much faster, either. WSBK pole-winning lap at Misano in June (Sykes) was only 1.2 seconds behind Vinales’ pole lap last weekend. TWELVE MotoGP bikes had slower qualifying laps than the winning WSBK lap.

      I know, different days, different conditions, etc. Still, if I’m not mistaken, Rea and his ZX-10R actually beat some of the top MotoGP bikes in testing at Valencia last fall. That probably wouldn’t have been possible at a longer track, but it’s still pretty impressive.

      • Dave says:

        Re: “That probably wouldn’t have been possible at a longer track, but it’s still pretty impressive.”

        Given that MotoGP bikes are lighter, more powerful, have more sophisticated electronics, and are purpose built for racing, it’s a downright embarrassment for them.

        Plus, if I’m not mistaken, WSBK has been “neutered” over the past several years, resulting in bikes that are closer to production products than before. It’s too bad they lost the balance they had a few years back when almost all of the participating brands were winning in the same year.

      • Randy D. says:

        The ironic thing is the last few years those in control have tried to dumb down the WSBK racers to make them less close in track times to Moto GP bike times and to make it less expensive in WSBK for competitors to compete to get bigger grids. Yet still there isn’t that big a difference in their times on the same tracks.

        It wasn’t too many years ago when WSBK races attracted more fans per race than Moto GP. That’s why the rules were changed to flip flop those results.

        • Dave says:

          And then there was that time that Matt Mladin stomped the whole WSBK paddock on his AMA Suzuki at a Phillip Island test session…

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Rea and his ZX-10R actually beat some of the top MotoGP bikes”

        “dammit, we’re gonna put a stop to this sh!t right now…”

        (the voice in Claudio Domenicali’s head as he yanked the cover off the new V4 engine last week at Misano)

  4. VLJ says:

    Imagine the feeling of climbing aboard that bike and rolling it out of the garage for the first time. Then they fire it up, and THAT sound hits you, along with the awesome realization…

    “This is Valentino freaking Rossi’s bike. This is the number ’46’ factory Yamaha. This isn’t something that’s kinda like Rossi’s bike. It’s not even some cast-off he rode a year or two ago. This is his actual race bike, right now.

    “Ummmm…holy crap.”

    • Pacer says:

      +1. Sitting around a table drinking beer saying “If I only had a chance to show them on a factory bike”. Well, here you go.

  5. Jdilpkle says:

    Bring me my brown pants.

  6. Norm G. says:


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