As the 2021 WorldSBK season gets closer, Michael Van Der Mark sat down for an interview with his new team across social media to discuss why he made the move to the German manufacturer and more.

Van Der Mark made his debut in the WorldSBK series in 2015 with Honda and showed immediate promise as he claimed back-to-back podiums at round four in Assen. 

After another impressive season in 2016 with a total of six podium finishes, the Dutch rider made the move to Pata Yamaha where he has spent the last four seasons. Van Der Mark took his first wins in 2018 with a double at Donington Park. 

Last season Van Der Mark was joined by Toprak Razgatlioglu to spearhead the team's championship challenge, but even after a good start to the season, Van Der Mark chose to make the switch to BMW in July and will now partner 2013 series champion Tom Sykes. 

Speaking about the move and what excited him, Van Der Mark said: “I think the main reason I joined BMW is the new M 1000 RR. It was a difficult decision, but this made it a bit easier. It looks really promising and I think, for the future, the bike has a lot of potential.

"Already the S 1000 RR had a lot of potential, but the M should be a lot better. This is the reason why I chose to change manufacturer. It was a strange season because normally you speak with different teams during race weekends.

"I spoke with BMW when we were all in lockdown. It was a bit strange, but it wasn’t really a difficult decision for me in the end. Normally you look at the races, you look at the results of other riders and you speak a bit with them during race weekends. But we were just stuck at home.”

While testing has so far been limited for obvious reasons, Van Der Mark has already been on the new bike as he tested the new M 1000 RR at BMW's owned Circuit of Miramas in France. 

“To be honest, the Miramas track is quite small so it was difficult to get the perfect feeling with the bike. We changed the handlebars and stuff like that. During a normal test you, wouldn’t take a lot of time to do it. Now, we are all set up to start the first test with a good feeling on the bike and the handlebars, seat position, everything ready.” said Van Der Mark.

BMW will have three teams on the grid in 2021 with Bonovo MGM Action and RC Squadra Corse representing the German manufacturer with Jonas Folger and Eugene Laverty alongside the factory team. 

Van Der Mark talked about this and why he feels having more BMW bikes on the grid will benefit the team going forward: “It’s good to have two more BMWs on the grid, especially for development.

"I think it’s more important to have two really fast riders with Eugene Laverty and Jonas Folger; two guys with a lot of experience. It’s good for the Championship to have them and to have two more BMWs is good for the whole project to develop the bike and make steps quicker.”

BMW have not enjoyed much success in WorldSBK over the last few seasons, but with new rider line-ups introduced and the new M 1000 RR, expectations will be high to make the step forward and challenge the likes of Yamaha, Ducati and Kawasaki.