Michael van der Mark is to replace Valentino Rossi at Aragon. The Dutch WorldSBK rider has been selected to stand in for the nine-time world champion, while Rossi recovers from the leg he fractured in a training accident just over a week ago.
Van der Mark faces a challenging weekend. He will have no time on the bike beforehand to acclimatize himself to either the Yamaha M1 or the Michelin MotoGP tires.
There is not enough time or testing opportunities to put the Dutchman on the bike ahead of this weekend. He will not have to learn the track, as WorldSBK also races at the circuit, but expectations will not be set too high.
The naming of Van der Mark as Rossi’s replacement is something of a surprise. Katsuyuki Nakasuga has subbed for injured riders previously, and has a lot of experience on a MotoGP bike.
Nakasuga is scheduled to appear as a wildcard rider at the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, though, and this may have conditioned Yamaha’s choice.
Van der Mark’s teammate Alex Lowes also has MotoGP experience, having already replaced Bradley Smith in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team last year at two races, and participated in the Brno test before Silverstone and Misano.
However, it is believed that Yamaha Europe, who pay the bills for much of the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK program, was not keen to put Lowes on the bike, preferring him to concentrate on the WorldSBK championship, where he is fifth, with an outside chance at taking fourth from Marco Melandri.
Source: Yamaha Racing
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.