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"After a week at home I was already sick of it..." van der Mark itching for WorldSBK return

Gold & Goose
Michael van der Mark, ROKiT BMW, BMW M 1000 RR, 2023 WorldSBK, portrait [credit - Gold & Goose]

Michael van der Mark has had little luck in the past two years, with big injuries interrupting his progress in the already toiling factory BMW Motorrad team.

His most recent massive highside caused another serious leg break, and although he was only riding an electric paddock scooter at Donington, not his factory bike, he was upbeat about his recovery

“It’s all right - it’s getting better. It’s taking a while. You never want to believe the doctor when he says it’s going to take forever, but it goes quicker than expected. It was quite tough.”


van der Mark Has a ride lined up to check if he is going to be fit enough to race at Imola and Most, a test that has taken on greater significance since his own substitute Tom Sykes was injured in a nasty accident in the final race of the weekend at Donington Park.

“I’m going to ride this week and then I’ll decide if I’ll be riding in Imola. For sure I can ride, but I’m not going to ride just to ride. I want to be fully fit, fully competitive. It has no meaning otherwise. I rode a couple of weeks ago and riding a bike, I can always ride a bike. It doesn’t matter.

"Especially Assen. I struggled a bit, quite a lot in changing direction. It was nice to ride. I enjoyed it, but I was not race ready. That’s why I waited a few more weeks.” 

>>> 2023 WorldSBK Championship Standings <<<

van der Mark also confirmed the accident - which saw him flicked into a violent high-side on the exit of the Geert Timmer chicane - wasn't human error, explaining there was a mistake in the set-up of the BMW M 1000 RR

"There was a setup mistake, but I think I make mistakes. Where people work, everybody can make mistakes. I think about this time it was, for me it felt really good. Also BMW was open about it. Like I said, we all make mistakes and unfortunately this one ended painful for me, but I think they showed some respect to admit the mistake. Pretty sure it will not happen again.” 

After two long lay offs in 2022 - one pre-season following a cycling accident and another after an off at Estoril - van der Mark insists the motivation to get back in action hasn't dulled.

“After a week at home I was already sick of it..” he said, probably only half joking. “So the motivation got back. But, this is my life. This is what I want to do. It is still the same. I want to race the bike to win races, improve. For me that was the toughest thing to see. I started with the project and we were making steps, but now two years in a row…


"It is also difficult for the guys to work with different riders because it’s so much easier to build on your rider. It makes me even more motivated now. I can see in BMW there’s a lot of new stuff coming. They are pushing really hard. So the motivation is never a problem.” 

Additional reporting by Ollie Barstow

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