WSB Rider of the Year: 2nd - Michael van der Mark
After another epic season of racing, MCN’s sports team of Michael Guy (Sports Editor), Simon Patterson (MotoGP Reporter) and Oli Rushby (Superbike Reporter) sat down to discuss who impressed them the most in each race series we cover to establish MCN’s top five riders in each category.
And after a hectic World Superbike season, it wasn’t an easy call to decide who deserved what spot in our top five riders of the year in the class. Here’s what we think – but feel free to disagree with us in the comments!
World Superbike Rider of the Year: 2nd – Michael van der Mark
After a relatively lacklustre debut season with Yamaha in 2017 saw him clinch just two podium finishes, Michael van der Mark stepped things up this year to end the season battling for second in the championship standings.
Challenging for victories on numerous occasions as the Yamaha became more of a threat in World Superbikes, the Dutchman would end the Japanese marque’s seven year victory drought by becoming the first from his country to win a race in the series with his emphatic double at Donington Park.
While those two wins would be his only of the year, it marked a huge step forward for both van der Mark and the PATA Yamaha team. A further eight podiums, including five second place finishes bolstered his campaign and saw him finish third in the overall standings, missing out on the runner-up spot by 23 points after riding injured in the final round at Qatar following a heavy free practice smash.
Overall, the 2018 season was a big success for van der Mark who showed he can fight with the World Superbike elite. The Dutchman also took his fourth Suzuka Eight Hour victory, and second in a row for Yamaha, alongside Alex Lowes.