On 30 June, Yamaha Racing announced that van der Mark will end his four-year association with the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team at the end of this season.
While that announcement made no mention of van der Mark’s new home, it was confirmed on 1 July that the 27-year-old will join the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team in 2021.
No word on the move came from van der Mark himself, but BMW team principal Shaun Muir made the following statement: “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 emphasises the focus and determination we have to compete for top honours, and we will give Michael every chance to reach that goal."
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director, 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. We would like to welcome Michael to the BMW WorldSBK team and look forward to a strong cooperation.”
Which rider van der Mark will replace in the BMW factory team – Eugene Laverty or Tom Sykes – has not been announced, but Laverty seems less likely to retain his place.
Van der Mark came to World Superbikes in 2015, after winning the European Superstock 600 Championship in 2012 and the World Supersport Championship in 2014. The Dutch rider spent his first two seasons in WSBK with Honda before switching to Yamaha in 2017, replacing Sylvain Guintoli in the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team.
In 2017, van der Mark secured his first WSBK podiums with Yamaha, then his first ever WSBK race wins in 2018. Last year, van der Mark racked up his third WSBK race win, this time at Jerez, along with seven more podiums.
With only one round of the 2020 season completed so far, van der Mark scored two fourth places and a fifth, finishing the round fifth overall.