Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) will be out of action during the Prosecco DOC Catalunya Round of the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, after his crash at the TT Circuit Assen just over a week ago. Whilst a successful operation has been undertaken, the Dutchman’s road to recovery will see him miss the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this year, however, he’ll be replaced by 2019 Portuguese Superbike champion Ivo Lopes.
Lopes, from Lisbon, has a wealth of experience, including two Spanish Superbike open class titles, a Moto2™ European Championship win and three Red Bull Rookies Cup podiums. Along with the success, he has a WorldSSP start to his name from 2018 and a Superstock 1000 start from 2013; both came at Portimao but no points were achieved. Currently, he is leading the Spanish Superbike championship after a win and two second places. He’ll become the 22nd Portuguese rider to start a WorldSBK race and the first since South African-born Portuguese rider Sheridan Morais at Estoril, 2020.
“I would like to thank BMW Motorrad Motorsport and the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team for the opportunity they are giving me at Barcelona. I have always dreamed of racing in WorldSBK, and that dream is now coming true. I know the Barcelona circuit very well, as I do the BMW M 1000 RR. However, the WorldSBK version of the bike is obviously different to the one I ride in the Spanish championship. I will work very hard at the weekend and give it my all to support the team and BMW Motorrad Motorsport as well as possible. I would like to thank them for the faith they have put in me, and also to wish Michael van der Mark a speedy recovery!”
BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers spoke about van der Mark’s recovery and looked forward to a new name in WorldSBK: “First of all, we wish Michael a good recovery. It was good to hear that the operation in Groningen was a success. We are in constant contact and he has already made the first small improvements. However, he should take the time he needs to return to full fitness.
“At the same time, we welcome Ivo Lopes to WorldSBK. We have known Ivo for a long time in the Portuguese and Spanish championships, where he has repeatedly shown what he is capable of on the BMW M 1000 RR. We are pleased to be able to give him the opportunity to go racing in the World Championship. On the whole, we are excited about the Barcelona weekend. The test there at the end of March was very productive. We hope we can back up the progress we saw at Assen, particularly with Scott claiming his best result of the season so far, at Barcelona.”