And It's Off Again - Van Der Mark Will Not Be Replacing Abraham At Assen After All

Michael van der Mark will now not be racing at his home MotoGP round of Assen. The deal to replace the injured Karel Abraham at the AB MotoRacing team has fallen through, the stumbling block being who would cover the cost of crash parts.

The deal came very close to fruition. Rumors that Van der Mark would take the place of Abraham first started over the weekend at Misano, emerging publicly on Monday afternoon. HRC had put Van der Mark forward to replace the injured Abraham, and the AB MotoRacing team were very open to having the young Dutchman as a substitute. Things soured on Monday, however, as discussions grew heated over who would pay for crash damage to the Open class Honda RC213V-RS if Van der Mark were to drop the bike. AB MotoRacing wanted HRC to pay for damage, Honda believed it was the responsibility of the team, just as it would be if Abraham were racing. 

In the end, the two parties could not reach agreement. Van der Mark will not now race in front of his home crowd, and it seems likely that Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama will once again fill in for an absent rider. The loss of Van der Mark as a substitute will come as a minor blow to the Dutch TT at Assen, with Dutch media interest in the race going into overdrive at the prospect of a Dutch rider in the premier class. The last Dutch rider to race in MotoGP was Jurgen van der Goorbergh, who rode the last of the Honda NSR500s with Erv Kanemoto, working on the earliest versions of Bridgestone's MotoGP tires. Since then, there have been Dutch riders in the junior classes - 125s, 250s and Moto3 - but never a rider in the main show.

Back to top


You would think the AB MotoRacing team would already have plenty of repair money set aside for the Dutch TT in preparation for Karel throwing it down a few times this weekend.

You'd think after having Karl ride the bike for 4 years or so. That this would be expected. It's bound to be cheaper to have VDM race vs Karl.

They really do need a kitty litter sponsor for that team.

Perhaps it occurred to somebody at AB that it would be fairly embarrassing if MvdM performed noticeably better on the bike than Karel - and didn't toss it into the cow pasture while doing so - resulting in a bad case of dislocated ego.

Who covers the crash damage with Ayoama aboard it?

Seems like a cop out from the AB Motoracing team to me. Trying to save a few pennies while their boy isn't racing.

Seriously, David, can you comment on this? Who exactly will pay for crash damage regardless of who's on the bike?
I still think that VDM would perform better...

Good point there, who is going to pay if Ayoama is falling down ?

I think there is still a change of things will be turn-around again tomorrow, vd Mark will race :-)

While Honda/HRC and AB MotoRacing have had some publicity just by linking MVDM to this ride for the weekend, it seems ridiculous that it's not happening over who'd pay for crash damage.

On one hand, I see AB MotoRacings point, putting a young rookie on it means he might push too hard and destroy a bike completely, which would obviously be very expensive. On the other side of the coin though, that could happen to anyone, it's just a case of the bike digging in badly.

However, for HRC/AB MotoRacing to have a local rider on their bike for the weekend, with the extra PR coverage that'd entail, I cannot see why you'd not pull strings and make this happen.

Someone somewhere has clearly failed to do a proper sales and marketing job on this ride!

Agree completely. I can understand the point of both sides about the risks and associated costs involved, but I can also see the potential benefits which, as you note, are huge. This makes it even more galling that they couldn't work out some kind of deal with Honda/HRC and AB MotoRacing sharing the expenses. Failure to negotiate a compromise reflects badly on both parties.

Karel pushing too hard and destroying it? 10/10 for effort on Karel's part, but he seriously bins his shit a hell of a lot...

It's a shame the enthusiastic Dutch fans won't have a local fellow to support. Maybe AB and HRC will have second thoughts.
The story reminded me of Wil Hartog winning a Dutch TT on a privateer Suzuki back in the late 70s. The next year he got a works machine and was a regular contender at the sharp end. Fine rider - at 6 foot he was always at a disadvantage, dwarfing the 500cc Suzi in his all-white leathers, but managed to win 5 GPs in all.

time hrc could pay for it. but it seems Hinda Reckless Team has only eyes for mm and dont care about others. to bad i would really like to see mvdm race.

I'm also very curious who will pay for the expenses if Aoyama crashes. Aoyama is an official HRC test rider, but I understood that MvdM doesnt have a contract with Sbk's Ten Kate Honda, he is also contracted directly by HRC.

So this reasoning doesn't really make sense to me?

Why should Honda have to provide (pay for) a replacement rider?

Why should Honda have to pay for crash damage?

Doesn't AB's deal with DORNA obligate them to fill the seat?

Reading a lot of interesting stuff about Karel Sr. lately.

It's not the cost of the unobtainium HRC motorcycle thats the problem......... Those Brno Circuit stickers on the side of the AB team fairings cost a million euros!

Cant afford to scratch them ;)

that Karel Abraham Sr is head of the team that won't take on MvdM and (I believe) owner of the circuit that looks likely not to stage the Czech Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Really? Really? In a multi-million dollar sport that at best can only provide a winner from 4x bikes, a podium from 6x or 8x bikes (at a stretch), we can't get the best Dutch rider onto a bike for his home GP.

All those who run MotoGP need to take a long hard look at themselves.