Van der Mark to leave Yamaha WSBK squad after 2020

Jamie Klein

Dutch rider van der Mark has been part of Yamaha's Crescent Racing-run works WSBK team since the 2017 season, making the move after two years with Honda.

In that time he has achieved three wins and a best championship placement of third in 2018, also helping the Iwata manufacturer to two Suzuka 8 Hours victories in '17 and '18.

After the opening round of the coronavirus-hit 2020 season, van der Mark lies fifth in the standings having taken two fourths and a fifth in the Phillip Island season opener, three points behind new teammate Toprak Razgatlioglu.

A statement issued by Yamaha said van der Mark was "opting to take on a new challenge in 2021", an apparent reference to the 27-year-old's likely switch to BMW next season.

That would leave incumbent BMW riders Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty fighting for a single free seat in the Shaun Muir Racing-run squad for 2021.

Van der Mark's impending departure follows that of former teammate Alex Lowes, who left the Yamaha camp at the end of last year to join the all-conquering Kawasaki works team.

Since then Lowes' contract has been extended by an additional year, which was followed by confirmation that five-time WSBK champion Jonathan Rea will also be staying on board at Kawasaki for at least another two seasons after this year.

Also with 2021 deals already confirmed are Razgatlioglu, who is staying at Yamaha, and Ducati's new recruit Scott Redding.