Although they remain a long way behind Yamaha, Kawasaki and Ducati, BMW managed to get the better of Honda for fourth in the 2021 WorldSBK manufacturers' standings. 

Tom Sykes, Eugene Laverty and Jonas Folger all missed various rounds, however, Michael Van Der Mark’s sixth place finish in the riders’ championship went a long way in helping the German manufacturer overhaul Honda. 

In 2020 the gap between Honda and BMW was 65 points, which coincidentally is the exact same margin that BMW managed to better Honda by in 2021. 

While Sykes had his moments - claimed a pole position in Catalunya along with a double podium at Donington Park, it was Van Der Mark who made the biggest difference for the factory team. 

The Dutch rider finished 67 points ahead of Alvaro Bautista, so given the 65 points that was between the two manufacturers, it’s fair to say BMW needed Van Der Mark’s points. 

On the way to claiming his 262 points which is the fourth highest total of his career, Van Der Mark also took the German manufacturers first win in eight years. 

The victory came in wet conditions after Jonathan Rea crashed while leading the Superpole race in Portimao. Van Der Mark started from fifth and produced overtakes on Axel Bassani, Toprak Razgatlioglu and new team-mate for 2022 Scott Redding in order to pick up the win. 

But while BMW secured a very important win, it’s a result that failed to mask their lack of dry-weather performance. 

All of BMW’s podiums came in either full wet or damp conditions, which shows that both Sykes and Van Der Mark could produce a result when the bike’ performance wasn’t needed as much.

The acquisition of Redding should be one that takes BMW forward further, however, expecting a consistent challenge for wins in 2022 is highly unlikely. 

Looking at Sykes, it was an up-and-down year for the 2013 champion as a concussion limited his appearance in the final rounds. Sykes was in contention to battle team-mate Van Der Mark for sixth before the injury happened in Catalunya, which means BMW likely would have scored a considerable amount more than they ultimately did. 

Not only is the factory line-up a strong one for 2022, but the Bonovo BMW Team has also expanded from a one rider team to two. Loris Baz, who stepped-in for Chaz Davies with immediate success joins Laverty for this upcoming campaign.