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|
|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|
|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.