Following an injury-hit first half of 2022, Michael van der Mark relishes being back in the thick of the battle at a circuit he goes well at, with his much-anticipated WorldSBK comeback on this weekend
The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship fires back into life after an enjoyable summer break, with the Pirelli French Round kickstarting the second half of a monumental season so far. One of the headlines coming into the seventh round of the season is that Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) is returning to action for the first time since Estoril, having suffered a second leg injury of the season in an FP1 highside.
Having missed all of the preseason testing due to a leg fracture, van der Mark made a welcome return to action at Assen, with a top eight performance in Sunday’s Race 2 putting the cherry on the cake of what had been his long-awaited comeback. However, it was short-lived as a highside coming out of the chicane at Estoril in FP1 left him with another leg break, this time requiring more recovery time. Having been on his training bike in August, the 2021 race winner for BMW was finally back at the summer test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which – whilst he admitted to being “rusty” – saw him get to grips with the updates BMW had brought to their M1000RR during his time away.
Looking ahead to his comeback, the 29-year-old Dutchman is excited: “I think everybody can imagine that I am really looking forward to this weekend. It has been a long time, so I am really excited to go back racing. Of course, I have to be declared fit. I’m feeling fine and everything but of course it still depends on the doctors and what they will say. For me, it is a bit difficult to say what I expect after this long time.
“I think the main thing is to stay calm, because I have not been racing for a long time. The test at Barcelona was good to get back up to speed but we have to wait and see. For sure, Magny-Cours is a track I really enjoy and last year we had some proper results there as well. I am just really, really happy to be back racing and the main target is to stay calm because we have six more race weekends this year.”
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director, also shared the pleasure of welcoming van der Mark back into the team: “After the long summer break, we are all looking forward to the second half of the season. Before the break, we showed a clear improvement in form, not only with Scott Redding’s podiums in the Superpole race at Donington Park and the first main race at Most, but with the results and performance as a whole. We now want to continue this trend. At the test in Barcelona, we were able to make important findings with our teams and riders, in order to improve the overall package of the BMW M1000RR.
“We are also very pleased that Michael van der Mark is fit again after his injury and is able to make his comeback. It was important to give him the time to heal completely, and we are confident that he will soon return to his old strength. We are now excited about the race weekend at Magny-Cours. In recent years, we have been very competitive at this varied circuit, the layout of which has a bit of everything. We are working hard to ensure that is the case again this year.”
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