Dutch Yamaha rider called up to replace Rossi
As the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock warms up for the tenth round of the season, this week holds even more importance for Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), as it was announced today that he is set to replace Valentino Rossi in MotoGP™.
The Italian Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team rider broke his leg two weeks ago following an enduro training crash, and his team chose not to replace Rossi at his home race of Misano this weekend. However they have now called upon Van der Mark to swing his leg over the M1 in two weeks time, around MotorLand Aragon. With Rossi not able to be fit enough to make his comeback around the Spanish circuit, the team have decided to give Van der Mark his MotoGP debut at a circuit he is familiar with and has performed well around in the past.
Van der Mark is understandably elated with the news: “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.”
Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Motor Racing adds: “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.”