After a 'false start' at Aragon, Michael van der Mark will make his MotoGP debut at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.

The WorldSBK star, who had been set to replace Valentino Rossi until the Italian's early return, has been called-up by Monster Yamaha Tech 3 while Jonas Folger continues his recovery from a suspected recurrence of the Epstein Barr virus.

The 2014 World Supersport champion has claimed 11 podiums in WorldSBK, using Honda and now Yamaha machinery, holding sixth in this year's standings with one round to go.

On Thursday, his 25th birthday, the Dutchman spoke with a small group of trackside media in the Sepang paddock. Here is an edited version of what van der Mark had to say…

Happy Birthday!

"Thank you. I think it's the best birthday present in my life! I'm really happy."

Did it feel different compared to going into Aragon?

"A little bit because it's not Valentino's bike, but at the end it's still a MotoGP bike and a really good one as well. It's not changed a lot. Everything will still be new, so I'm still really excited and a little bit nervous because I don't know what to expect. We will see tomorrow.

Is there less pressure being in a satellite team and not a factory team this time?

"It's more the people who make the pressure, you know. Of course, when you ride Valentino's bike you feel more pressure but at the end it's still a bike. There's not a of pressure, it's just an amazing opportunity for me to finally get this ride."

You are the first Dutch MotoGP rider since 2005…

"Yeah, they've been waiting a long time for this and I'm really proud. I think there are also some talents coming, so hopefully they don’t have to wait as long again after this weekend."

You know the track from Superbike, do you like it?

"It's a really difficult track, but to be honest it's also one of my favourites. Hopefully this makes it a little bit easier this weekend."

Have you ever used carbon brakes and Michelin tyres?

"No, it will be the first time and the guys said just to be careful for the first lap. At the end they are brakes, a lot stronger of course, it just takes laps to learn. Also the tyres will be different but this year I rode many different tyres as well, so I will hopefully adapt soon to the Michelins as well."

What is your plan for weekend?

"I have no idea what we have to expect. For me the main thing is to improve every session. It's going to be really difficult, but I will be happy if I improve every session and that we've made a lot of progress by Sunday after the race. This is what I hope to do and the only thing I will expect because I never rode this bike, tyres or brakes. There's a lot to learn and improve."

Zarco is not an easy team-mate to beat…

"No, he's not the easiest team-mate to beat but it's also not my goal to beat him. I think as you saw last weekend he did an amazing race and he's really strong, so it's also good to have him in the team because I can hopefully learn from him quite a lot."

Have you spoken to the Yamaha guys about the bike and what to expect?

"I did this in Aragon because I had a lot of time! They say of course the bike is different, but at the end it's a bike and at the end there are some small things you have to adjust. They gave me some advice about the bike, but I have to discover it myself."

Do you think the experience of jumping from your Suzuka bike and back to WorldSBK again will make this weekend easier?

"To be honest this year I rode many different bikes because also the Japanese Superbike was different again. I hope it will help me and I think it will because you start to only think about the big things and not all the small things.

"Sometimes it's good to change many bikes during the season, sometimes it's not so good, but this year has been really good because I gained so much experience. Which we transferred into the Superbike."

Were you able to spot anything at Aragon when you were watching trackside that might help?

"You see the bikes and how they ride but it's still difficult when you go on the bike yourself. I just can't wait to ride the bike."

Did Yamaha give you any indication at Aragon that if a rider was injured you would be first in line?

"To be honest they didn't speak about this, this is many Herve [Poncharal's] decision. Okay it's Yamaha as well, but Herve is the guy who has to choose. I'm really happy that he chose me."

Is there a chance you will also be at the team for Valencia?

"I haven’t spoken about this. We just have to go through this weekend and to be honest for the team it will be best if Jonas could return. But we'll just do this weekend first and then see afterwards."


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