Michael van der Mark will now not be racing at his home MotoGP round of Assen. The deal to replace the injured Karel Abraham at the AB MotoRacing team has fallen through, the stumbling block being who would cover the cost of crash parts.
The deal came very close to fruition. Rumors that Van der Mark would take the place of Abraham first started over the weekend at Misano, emerging publicly on Monday afternoon. HRC had put Van der Mark forward to replace the injured Abraham, and the AB MotoRacing team were very open to having the young Dutchman as a substitute. Things soured on Monday, however, as discussions grew heated over who would pay for crash damage to the Open class Honda RC213V-RS if Van der Mark were to drop the bike. AB MotoRacing wanted HRC to pay for damage, Honda believed it was the responsibility of the team, just as it would be if Abraham were racing.
In the end, the two parties could not reach agreement. Van der Mark will not now race in front of his home crowd, and it seems likely that Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama will once again fill in for an absent rider. The loss of Van der Mark as a substitute will come as a minor blow to the Dutch TT at Assen, with Dutch media interest in the race going into overdrive at the prospect of a Dutch rider in the premier class. The last Dutch rider to race in MotoGP was Jurgen van der Goorbergh, who rode the last of the Honda NSR500s with Erv Kanemoto, working on the earliest versions of Bridgestone's MotoGP tires. Since then, there have been Dutch riders in the junior classes - 125s, 250s and Moto3 - but never a rider in the main show.