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BMW signs van der Mark for 2021 WSBK season

The BMW World Superbike team has announced it has signed current Yamaha rider Michael van der Mark for the 2021 season.

It was announced earlier this week that van der Mark would be leaving the works Yamaha team at the end of this season, the Dutch rider having been with the Crescent-run squad since 2017.

The three-time WSBK race winner’s expected to move to BMW was confirmed on Thursday morning, which will come at the expense of either Tom Sykes or Eugene Laverty.

Team boss Shaun Muir said: “We are delighted to welcome Michael to the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team. He brings a wealth of experience and is one of the youngest, most talented riders on the WorldSBK grid.

“Securing Michael’s services emphasis the focus and determination we have to compete for top honours, and we will give Michael every chance to reach that goal.” 

BMW Motorrad’s motorsport director Marc Bongers added: “We are very pleased about the commitment of Michael, who has developed very strongly in the World Superbike Championship in recent years.

“We are convinced that Michael is an enrichment for our project, and together, in combination with the strong package we can offer him, we can reach the next higher level in terms of results.”

Van der Mark becomes the fifth rider to secure a deal for the 2021 WSBK season, joining Kawasaki pair Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes, Ducati’s Scott Redding and van der Mark’s current Yamaha teammate Toprak Razgatioglu.

Razgatioglu won the opening race of the year at Phillip Island for Yamaha in March and lies third in the current standings, two places ahead of van der Mark.

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Racing

Van der Mark to leave Yamaha WSBK squad after 2020

Yamaha has announced that Michael van der Mark will be departing its factory World Superbike outfit at the conclusion of the 2020 season.

Dutch rider van der Mark has been part of Yamaha’s Crescent Racing-run works WSBK team since the 2017 season, making the move after two years with Honda.

In that time he has achieved three wins and a best championship placement of third in 2018, also helping the Iwata manufacturer to two Suzuka 8 Hours victories in ’17 and ’18.

After the opening round of the coronavirus-hit 2020 season, van der Mark lies fifth in the standings having taken two fourths and a fifth in the Phillip Island season opener, three points behind new teammate Toprak Razgatlioglu.

A statement issued by Yamaha said van der Mark was “opting to take on a new challenge in 2021”, an apparent reference to the 27-year-old’s likely switch to BMW next season.

That would leave incumbent BMW riders Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty fighting for a single free seat in the Shaun Muir Racing-run squad for 2021.

Van der Mark’s impending departure follows that of former teammate Alex Lowes, who left the Yamaha camp at the end of last year to join the all-conquering Kawasaki works team.

Since then Lowes’ contract has been extended by an additional year, which was followed by confirmation that five-time WSBK champion Jonathan Rea will also be staying on board at Kawasaki for at least another two seasons after this year.

Also with 2021 deals already confirmed are Razgatlioglu, who is staying at Yamaha, and Ducati’s new recruit Scott Redding.

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