WSS Champion Michael Van Der Mark To Race In World Superbikes For Next Two Seasons

Michael van der Mark will be moving up to the World Superbike class for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The move had been widely expected, after the 22-year-old Dutchman had shown a very strong progression in his second World Supersport season, culminating in clinching the title with a thrilling at the last round in Jerez.

Van der Mark is to stay with the Ten Kate team, who recognized his talent early and supported him throughout his European Superstock 600 and World Supersport career, putting him on the CBR1000RR in the Pata Honda WSBK squad. Though Van der Mark will be staying with the team, his contract is now directly with Honda, rather than with Ten Kate. The deal with Honda is a three-year one, with Van der Mark aiming to make the move to MotoGP after two seasons in World Superbikes with Pata Honda.

The Dutchman will be taking the place of the departing Jonathan Rea in the Pata Honda team. Though Rea had come close to signing a deal in the MotoGP paddock, where he had several offers, the 27-year-old is to make the switch to the Kawasaki team, where he will attempt to dethrone his new teammate and World Superbike champion Tom Sykes. The second slot in the Pata Honda team will be taken by Sylvain Guintoli.

Below is the press release issued by the Pata Honda team:

Two years of World Superbike for van der Mark and Honda

Honda's new World Supersport champion Michael van der Mark has signed a two-year agreement to race with the Pata Honda team in the World Superbike championship in 2015 and 2016.

The 21-year-old, who secured the 2014 World Supersport series title with two rounds to spare on 7 September in Jerez in Spain, will ride the Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP from next season. It was confirmed on Friday 19 September that Pata will be with Honda for further two years in the World Superbike championship.

Although he has raced on Honda’s CBR600RR for four years - winning the European Superstock 600 championship in 2012 before stepping up to World Supersport last season - van der Mark is no stranger to Honda’s 1000cc flagship sportsbike.

The Dutch rider has won the last two editions of the prestigious Suzuka 8-hours World Endurance championship race in Japan, impressing many with his outright pace on the larger machine.

Van der Mark still has two rounds remaining in this year’s World Supersport championship at Magny-Cours, France on 5 October and at Losail in Qatar on 2 November. However, the team’s testing schedule and the calendar for the 2015 World Superbike championship are yet to be announced.

Michael van der Mark
Date of birth 26 October 1992
Place of birth Gouda, Netherlands
Home town Rotterdam, Netherlands
Race number 60
2015 race machine Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP
First race 2005 - Assen, Netherlands, Dutch Jr. Cup
World Supersport debut 2012 - Moscow, Russia (wildcard)
World Supersport races 20
First World Supersport podium 2013 - Phillip Island, Australia
Total World Supersport podiums 11
First World Supersport win 2014 - Assen, the Netherlands
Total World Supersport wins 5
Career Highlights
2005 4th, Dutch Junior Cup - Aprilia
2006 2nd, Dutch Junior Cup - Aprilia
2007 2nd, ONK Dutch 125cc championship - Honda
2008 ONK Dutch 125cc champion - Honda
  3rd, IDM 125cc championship - Honda
  Selected CEV Spanish championship - Honda
  26th, Dutch 125cc GP - Honda
2009 ONK Dutch 125cc champion - Honda
  Selected CEV Spanish championship - Honda
  18th, Dutch 125cc GP - Honda
2010 125cc Grands Prix - Lambretta
  7th, Dutch 125cc GP
  Debut, European Superstock 600 championship - Honda
2011 3rd, European STK 600 championship - Honda
  Wildcard - Moto2 GP, Assen
2012 European Superstock 600 champion - Honda
2013 Winner, Suzuka 8-hours - Honda
  4th, World Supersport championship - Honda
2014 Winner, Suzuka 8-hours - Honda
  World Supersport Champion - Honda

Michael van der Mark

I’m really, really happy with this next step. It’s been going in two-year stages for me with the team, so this next stage in World Superbikes is fantastic and really exciting. It’s a good and safe place to be with Honda for 2015 and 2016. I’ve had a great experience with this team for the last two years and there was never really any question that I would be going anywhere else. World Superbikes in 2015 is going to be really interesting – there are new technical regulations and I think there will be a few surprises next year. Although the electronics will be a big change for me, I have shown that I can ride a superbike and now I really can’t wait to get started.

Ronald ten Kate - team manager

In a way, I’m a little sad that we have to let Michael go from his contract with Ten Kate Racing for 2015. But in reality, I am absolutely happy and proud that he has been given this fantastic opportunity with Honda. There is now a clear plan and vision to grow his impressive talent in the future. We have been working with Michael now for four years – two in Superstock 600 and two in World Supersport – so this next step for him feels completely natural. He fully deserves this chance and we are all looking forward to taking these next steps together with him.

Robert Watherston - head of motorsports, Honda Europe

We are absolutely delighted that Michael has found his niche with Honda. He has gelled with the CBR range from day one in European Superstock where he became champion in 2012. Now he has a world title with Honda and the CBR600RR and we’re looking forward to the next two-year cycle as we target our common goal of another world championship together.

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Well earned, congrats Mr VanDM! Prouder to ride my 600rr now that you put it on the top step.

I am MORE excited about getting to see Rea on the Kawi battling with Sykes. Been waiting to see what he is capable of.

And the next generation of the CBR under new WSBK rules, how much motor can they get in there? Then, will it be time for me to pick up another liter bike?

David, any insight re what it will take for Yamaha to wake up and get the R1 back in the game? Where it would likely be under EVO rules (I have forgotten what their level of engine tuning was previously relative to others and how they would stack up as EVO's).

I too am looking forward to seeing Rea on equal package to Sykes. I think Rea might be the winner.

The Yam does well under EVO rules in BSB, in fact we have BMW, Kwak and Yam at the top (and last year the champ was on a Honda). I'm looking forward to EVO rules for WSBK, apart from anything else that should mean wild carding can return at the UK race.

Good to see someone still buying sports-bikes in view of how their sales are plummeting (and Ill be getting one myself this winter hopefully, but as an extra toy).

But above all well done to VDM, saw him at Assen last year, gave the locals much to cheer about. He has a very strong team-mate in Guinters.

I think this link is a free video with a fairly detailed quick explanation of the 2015 rules

Basically next year all bikes will be this years evo spec with cam/head tuning allowed, plus a price capped (8k Euro) factory kit including electronics etc.
Factories will have to provide software updates several times a season, nominally to give equal access equipment-wise to all.
It narrows the divide between factory and smaller teams, but the software guys will still make the difference for the factories.
Thinking of the open class MotoGP software that was too much for the little guys to handle.

It appear VDM already prove he can ride SBK bike by winning Suzuka 8 hours twice, albeit the bike is in different level with WSBK... Ten Kate won't make 2008 mistake when promoting Sofuoglu to SBK... also I do not see many SS champ that can be competitive on SBK, hopefully he's one of those fews.