According to Yamaha, Rossi is making good progress with his rehabilitation process. However, it is expected that he will not be able to compete again before the Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi, held from 13 – 15 October.
Team Principal Lin Jarvis said, “Following Valentino‘s crash 31 August, Yamaha decided not to replace him at the San Marino Grand Prix, but for the next Grand Prix in Aragón the team is obliged to enter two riders. It being virtually impossible for Valentino to be fit to race in Aragón, Yamaha decided to search for a capable replacement from within its own pool of contracted riders.”
“Having previously used Katsuyuki Nakasuga to fill in for Jorge Lorenzo in 2011 and Alex Lowes to replace Bradley Smith in 2016, we decided that Michael van der Mark should have the opportunity this time around. It is never easy to step in to replace another rider and even more difficult to replace Valentino Rossi, but we believe that Michael has all the credentials and experience to do a good job. We will give him our very best support and wish him every success for this exciting opportunity. We also hope that Valentino will continue to make a rapid recovery and that we will see him again, back on his YZR-M1, on the earliest possible occasion,” Jarvis added.
Van der Mark, the current Yamaha WorldSBK rider, will be backed by Rossi’s usual crew at the race in Aragon. This opportunity will provide the 24-year-old with a similar MotoGP experience to the one fellow Yamaha WorldSBK rider and 2017 Suzuka 8-hours Endurance Race winner Alex Lowes was given last year. The Brit replaced Bradley Smith in the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team at the British, San Marino, and Aragón Grand Prix.
Unlike Lowes, who had the benefit of some testing mileage in Brno, Czech Republic, prior to taking part in the MotoGP weekends, Van der Mark will debut in the premier class on the YZR-M1 without any training. Nevertheless, the three-time Suzuka8H winner is well accustomed to the demands of working for a factory team. The Dutchman is also no stranger to the MotoGP paddock, having competed in seven 125cc Grands Prix in 2010, and in the 2011 Moto2 race in Assen, the Netherlands. Moreover, his experience in the FIM Superbike (WorldSBK) and Supersport World Championships, and the European Superstock 600 make him well acquainted with the MotorLand Aragón circuit, having raced there seven times before.