2022 was a very troubled year for Michael van der Mark, who was forced to skip almost the entire first part of the season due to two injuries that kept him away from the track for five rounds. The most complicated year ever for the Dutch rider, who finished the last championship in 15th place, with 46 points and two 8th places as best result.
Leaving his injuries behind him, Mickey wants to move forward and prove to everyone that he’s back in tip top shape and ready to fight for the positions that matter. But the road seems to be all uphill, considering the criticism of the evolution of the new BMW M 1000 RR that his teammate Scott Redding pointed out and Bautista’s plus 1”6 gap in the Portimao tests, where the 30-year-old from Gouda reached 1’40”711 as his best result. Numbers that are far from encouraging, also given the arrival of a large line-up of respected newcomers like Danilo Petrucci, Dominique Aegerter, and Remy Gardner. But the BMW rider doesn’t back down and is ready to fight it out with the newcomers.
“I don’t think they’re really rookies. They’re new to the championship, and I think they’re great additions,” Van der Mark said in an interview on the official SBK website. “They’re fast riders. Danilo has demonstrated a lot in the MotoGP, in the MotoAmerica Superbike class, and even in the Dakar. Remy is a Moto2 World Champion, and last year was a tough year, but he demonstrated his talent. They’re nice additions to the team, and I think we’ll have some good battles with them.”
All riders agree on one things: the level of the SBK World Championship is increasing. Could this be the new golden era of the Superbike World Championship?
“I think it’s the beginning of a new golden age. From the fifth position up, all the riders are very close. We want more to fight for the victory and, at that point, it’ll really be a golden era.”