Hot Shot Rider Michael Van Der Mark Won’t Make MotoGP Debut At Assen
MotoGP was abuzz over the past few days when reports surfaced that hotshot prospect and current World Superbike Championship rider Michael van der Mark was expected to fill in for injured AB Moto Racing team rider Karel Abraham at the Dutch Grand Prix on June 28, 2015.
Speculation was running high about his long-awaited debut to the top class, but just as quickly as people started getting excited over seeing van der Mark make his maiden MotoGP race in his home track, word quickly came out that team management decided against doing it. Major bummer, right?
The presence of van der Mark at Assen wasn’t expected to dramatically shift the title picture, but it seemed like the right time to give the young phenom some MotoGP burn before his eventual rise to the ranks in the coming years.
According to numerous reports from the Netherlands, van der Mark was actually given the green light by both Honda Racing Corporation and Ten Kate, his World Superbike team, to make his MotoGP debut at Assen. But the final consent had to come from the AB Motor Racing team and it was the one who shot down the idea, much to the dismay of everyone who saw the potential goldmine of attention descending on the race knowing that a young Dutch man was making his MotoGP debut in Dutch soil.
The same reports indicated that the team was apprehensive on letting van Der Mark ride for them without an insurance agreement in the event that the young rider wrecks the team’s racing bikes. Both sides reportedly couldn’t come to an agreement and that ultimately was the deciding factor in keeping van der Mark from making his long-awaited MotoGP debut.
With only two days left before the first free practice at Assen ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix this Sunday, June 28, 2015, the AB Motor Racing team still needs to find a rider to substitute for the injured Abraham.
Unless there’s a last-minute change-of-heart, that rider is unlikely to be Michael van der Mark.
Continue reading to read more about Michael van der Mark’s supposed MotoGP debut at the 2015 Dutch GP.
Why it matters
I got really excited there for a minute when I first heard rumors that Michael van der Mark was going to make his MotoGP debut at the Dutch Grand Prix. I don’t profess to be a big fan of his, but I have seen him race in the World Superbike Championship and I’m well aware as to why fans are excited to see him move up to the top class sooner than later.
It also made sense for him to make his debut at the Dutch GP. For starters, he’s Dutch, too. The publicity and hysteria alone would make his debut the big sports story in the Netherlands. That’s the kind of attention you just can’t fabricate even if you tried your hardest to do it.
Then, there’s his familiarity with the track, something that could’ve favored AB Moto Racing team during the race. Remember, van der Mark scored two WSBK podium finishes for Pata Honda this year in the same race track. This isn’t a case of a rider getting thrown into the fire at a track he knows little about. This 22-year old probably knows Assen inside out by now. That would’ve instantly made him a dark horse to finish strong in the race.
So yeah, I’m a little bummed out that his opportunity was shut down by AB Moto Racing.
That said, I don’t blame the team for taking the stance that it took. Let’s face it, people. Running a MotoGP team isn’t cheap and the exorbitant costs that come with keeping a team competitive in the series is of paramount importance for the entire team. Add that to the long-held belief that AB Moto Racing isn’t the most financially stable team in the MotoGP paddock and you begin to understand the hesitation of putting van der Mark on the bike without the proper financial assurances.
Without the right insurance agreement to cover whatever potential accidents may come, it doesn’t make sense from a business standpoint to hand over the keys to a young rider who has yet to experience top-flight MotoGP racing.
That’s too much of a risk to take for the team and, really, you can’t blame them for putting business first before the enormous attention it’ll be getting from having van der Mark compete for them.
Source: Racesport Netherlands