What is arguably the best-ever rookie class in terms of talent that WorldSBK has seen come into the championship, will be led by the likes of Petrucci and Gardner.

But while the former MotoGP riders - and in Petrucci’s case a former MotoGP race winner - are the headline names, back-to-back WorldSSP champion Dominique Aegerter, BSB champion Bradley Ray, Lorenzo Baldassarri and Eric Granado are also set for their maiden seasons in Superbike in 2023.

In fact, Aegerter has already shown why he’s a two-time Supersport champion after a brilliant performance during day-two of the Jerez test two weeks ago, which was also the case for Petrucci [finished fourth on day-one] before Gardner ended the final European pre-season test at Portimao quickest of the rookies. 

When asked about the additions of riders such as Petrucci and Gardner to WorldSBK, two riders who are arguably aboard the best machinery in Ducati and Yamaha, Van Der Mark, who is set for his second season with the factory BMW team, was not convinced that they are you’re typical rookies who need time to adapt. 

Van Der Mark told WorldSBK.com: "You’re calling them rookies but I don't think they really are. They’re new in the class and they are strong additions. 

"Danilo has shown a lot in MotoGP, Superbikes in America - even Dakar and I think Remy is a Moto2 champion. 

"Last year he just had a difficult year but he has shown that the talent is there. It’s a nice addition to the field and I think we can have some nice battles."

While the 2023 rookie class could be one of the reasons why WorldSBK enjoys its best season ever, so are the likes of reigning world champion Alvaro Bautista, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea should they continue to battle as we saw last year.

It’s for those reasons why many believe WorldSBK is entering another golden era, however, Van Der Mark believes there’s one thing missing in order for it to truly be called as such. 

"I think it’s the start of a golden era for WorldSBK," added Van Der Mark. "From fifth position onwards it is really close. 

"All the riders are close together but we want more riders to fight for victories. At that point it will be the full golden era."