Michael van der Mark out of WorldSBK opener, Ilya Mikhalchik to debut

Ukraine's Ilya Mikhalchik will make his WorldSBK debut in the 2022 season opener at Aragon as a replacement for the injured Michael van der Mark at BMW

Ilya Mikhalchik - BMW WorldSBK Motorrad

BMW has confirmed Michael van der Mark will miss the opening round of the 2022 WorldSBK Championship at Motorland Aragon with Ilya Mikhalchik to make his series debut as his replacement.

The Dutchman has been out of action for almost a month nursing a broken leg sustained in an accident while training on his mountain bike, an injury that was always likely to put his participation for the 2022 WorldSBK opener in doubt.

Now, with just over a week to go until the season kicks off in Spain, BMW has confirmed van der Mark won’t line-up alongside new team-mate Scott Redding on the factory BMW M 1000 RR.

“It has been a difficult decision but unfortunately I will not try to ride at MotorLand Aragón. At this moment we have to be smart and stay calm because this is the only way forward in my recovery. 

“I really miss working with the team and riding my BMW M 1000 RR but right now my goal is to be fit again as soon as possible.”

In his place comes Mikhalchik, who will fly the flag high for his native Ukraine as he makes his debut at world championship level.

A triple champion in the German-based IDM Superbike Championship for BMW, he is also part of the manufacturer’s factory-backed Endurance World Championship outfit.

Though Aragon marks his debut race outing in WorldSBK, he was recently given the chance to get up to speed on the M 1000 RR as van der Mark’s replacement during the recent Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya test.