Honda’s new World Supersport champion Michael van der Mark has signed a two-year agreement to race with the Pata Honda team in the World Superbike championship in 2015 and 2016.
The 21-year-old, who secured the 2014 World Supersport series title with two rounds to spare on 7 September in Jerez in Spain, will ride the Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP from next season. It was confirmed on Friday 19 September that Pata will be with Honda for further two years in the World Superbike championship.
Although he has raced on Honda’s CBR600RR for four years – winning the European Superstock 600 championship in 2012 before stepping up to World Supersport last season – van der Mark is no stranger to Honda’s 1000cc flagship sportsbike.
The Dutch rider has won the last two editions of the prestigious Suzuka 8-hours World Endurance championship race in Japan, impressing many with his outright pace on the larger machine.
Van der Mark still has two rounds remaining in this year’s World Supersport championship at Magny-Cours, France on 5 October and at Losail in Qatar on 2 November. However, the team’s testing schedule and the calendar for the 2015 World Superbike championship are yet to be announced.
The Dutch rider’s team-mate for 2015 is also yet to be announced with long time Honda stalwart Jonathan Rea seemingly courting a Kawasaki ride in WSBK if Honda can not place the likeable Irishman into a competitive MotoGP ride. Likewise Haslam seems unlikely to stick with Honda for 2015. Josh Brookes has made it clear that he would like to step onto the World Superbike stage and perhaps could be a possibility to ride alongside Michael van der Mark in 2015. The hot favourite for the second Ten Kate Superbike seat right now though is Sylvain Guintoli.
First race 2005 – Assen, Netherlands, Dutch Jr. Cup
World Supersport debut 2012 – Moscow, Russia (wildcard)
World Supersport races 20
First World Supersport podium 2013 – Phillip Island, Australia
Total World Supersport podiums 11
First World Supersport win 2014 – Assen, the Netherlands
Total World Supersport wins 5
2005 4th, Dutch Junior Cup – Aprilia
2006 2nd, Dutch Junior Cup – Aprilia
2007 2nd, ONK Dutch 125cc championship – Honda
2008 ONK Dutch 125cc champion – Honda
3rd, IDM 125cc championship – Honda
Selected CEV Spanish championship – Honda
26th, Dutch 125cc GP – Honda
2009 ONK Dutch 125cc champion – Honda
Selected CEV Spanish championship – Honda
18th, Dutch 125cc GP – Honda
2010 125cc Grands Prix – Lambretta
7th, Dutch 125cc GP
Debut, European Superstock 600 championship – Honda
2011 3rd, European STK 600 championship – Honda
Wildcard – Moto2 GP, Assen
2012 European Superstock 600 champion – Honda
2013 Winner, Suzuka 8-hours – Honda
4th, World Supersport championship – Honda
2014 Winner, Suzuka 8-hours – Honda
World Supersport Champion – Honda
Michael van der Mark – “I’m really, really happy with this next step. It’s been going in two-year stages for me with the team, so this next stage in World Superbikes is fantastic and really exciting. It’s a good and safe place to be with Honda for 2015 and 2016. I’ve had a great experience with this team for the last two years and there was never really any question that I would be going anywhere else. World Superbikes in 2015 is going to be really interesting – there are new technical regulations and I think there will be a few surprises next year. Although the electronics will be a big change for me, I have shown that I can ride a superbike and now I really can’t wait to get started.”
Ronald ten Kate – team manager – “In a way, I’m a little sad that we have to let Michael go from his contract with Ten Kate Racing for 2015. But in reality, I am absolutely happy and proud that he has been given this fantastic opportunity with Honda. There is now a clear plan and vision to grow his impressive talent in the future. We have been working with Michael now for four years – two in Superstock 600 and two in World Supersport – so this next step for him feels completely natural. He fully deserves this chance and we are all looking forward to taking these next steps together with him.”
Robert Watherston – head of motorsports, Honda Europe – “We are absolutely delighted that Michael has found his niche with Honda. He has gelled with the CBR range from day one in European Superstock where he became champion in 2012. Now he has a world title with Honda and the CBR600RR and we’re looking forward to the next two-year cycle as we target our common goal of another world championship together.”
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