MCN's WSBK rider of the year: 5th Michael van der Mark
MCN’s Sports Desk rank the five riders who have impressed them most in the World Superbike Championship during the 2017 season.
5th – Michael van der Mark
- Best result: 2nd
- Wins: 0
- Podiums: 6
- Championship position: 4th
2016 was yet another impressive year for Dutch racer Michael van der Mark in World Superbikes, despite once again coming up against the limitations of the now-outdated Honda Fireblade package to finish the series the best of the rest behind the all-conquering Kawasakis and Ducatis.
Showing strong pace on occasion, a win wasn’t to be for the former World Supersport champion despite his best efforts, and he was forced to settle for a series of seconds and thirds – no mean feat given the level of the machines ahead of him for most of the season.
He even managed to out-perform teammate and former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden, taking bragging rights and fourth in the championship off the American.
However, the promise of a new Honda for 2017 wasn’t enough to keep him with the ten Kate squad, and a new adventure lies ahead of him next year in the form of the Pata Crescent Yamaha. Fast in testing, it nonetheless remains to be seen whether the new bike will bring the pace he deserves after a difficult first year for the team in 2016.