Mikhalchik replaces van der Mark at Aragon

Van der Mark broke his leg while training on a mountain bike in March, requiring him to undergo surgery just weeks before the start of the new campaign in Spain.

With little time left to complete a full recovery, the Dutch driver will sit out the Aragon round on April 8-10, vacating the bike for Ukrainian rider Mikhalchik.

Mikhalchik has already ridden the WSBK-spec M1000RR for a recent test in Barcelona and will get further running on the bike at the Dorna-supported test at Aragon on Monday and Tuesday prior to making his race debut at the same track.

“It has been a difficult decision but unfortunately I will not try to ride at Motorland Aragon,” said van der Mark. 

“At this moment we have to be smart and stay calm because this is the only way forward in my recovery. I really miss working with the team and riding my BMW M1000RR but right now my goal is to be fit again as soon as possible.”

Ilya Mikhalchik, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team

Ilya Mikhalchik, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team

Photo by: BMW Motorsport

Mikhalchik will be joined in Aragon by 2020 championship runner-up Scott Redding, who is new to BMW’s factory squad this year after spending the last two seasons at Ducati.

The British rider posted the seventh-quickest time in the Barcelona test last week, lapping one-and-a-half seconds slower than pacesetter Toprak Razgatlioglu on the Yamaha.

Mikhalchik, who is racing in the Spanish Superbike Championship this weekend, ended the test in 16th place – over a second off the pace of his more experienced teammate Redding.

BMW’s factory WSBK effort is supported by a pair of satellite bikes run by the Bonovo MGM team, with Loris Baz and Eugene Laverty signed as the outfit’s two riders.

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