Redding: Mikhalchik not the right choice for BMW substitute

Scott Redding feels BMW bringing back Ilya Mikhalchik to replace the injured Michael van der Mark would not be the right choice for its World Superbike programme.

Redding: Mikhalchik not the right choice for BMW substitute
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BMW is in a race against time to find a teammate for Redding ahead of the Italian round of WSBK on June 11-12, with van der Mark having fractured his right hip in a heavy crash at Estoril earlier this month.

Although no timeline has been given for his recovery, the Dutch rider could be out of action until September, meaning BMW needs to find a replacement to partner Redding for roughly half the season.

Three-time IDM champion Mikhalchik is a leading contender for the seat, having shown promising pace at Aragon in April when he was asked to step in for van der Mark after he suffered an unrelated training injury on a mountain bike.

But Redding doesn’t feel Mikhalchik is the right way forward for BMW, saying the 26-year-old is too preoccupied with proving himself ready for a future WSBK seat and hence could end up compromising the development of the M1000RR bike.

“Ilya, while he is pretty good, he is just riding to maybe secure something in the future," said the Briton. "So he is not really thinking how we can improve the project as such. 

“When he comes to World Superbike, as I would if I was him, I would just go for results [and] f*** everything else. I want to show what I can do. 

"But then it can have some negative effects because maybe he is doing one lap time and then we see ‘okay, maybe this is the way like in Aragon.’ 

“The fact was he had so many years on the BMW, he knows how to manage it in a certain situation. Then the pace got faster and he was struggling more. So his limit was lower. But at the beginning of the weekend he was faster.

"We were thinking we need to do what he is doing, but actually that was the limit. Then we need to go an hour away to go further. So it can have pros and cons. But they need to put someone on the bike that can ride."

Scott Redding, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team

Scott Redding, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

While Redding has his reservations about Mikhalchik, BMW Motorrad’s motorsport boss Marc Bongers feels the Ukrainian rider could be a good fit for the team until van der Mark is fully fit again.

While Bongers understands that Mikhalchik’s primary objective is to earn a WSBK seat in the future, he feels his speed on the BMW M1000RR can actually help the team develop the bike further.

"Ilya is the logical choice. He did a very good job in Aragon," Bongers told’s sister title

"Neither in the [FIM] World Endurance Championship nor in the Spanish [Superbike] Championship are there any scheduling conflicts for the next three WSBK events.

"We can't expect van der Mark to come back sooner. But there are no clear statements about his recovery period yet. But I don't expect him to be ready for action again before Magny-Cours.

"For development you also need good lap times. Of course [Mikhalchik] wants to recommend himself. 

“He has won the German Championship three times, is doing well in the Spanish Championship and in the World Endurance Championship.

“He is still very young. Of course, the Superbike World Championship is his goal. He wants to recommend himself.

"But he also has to recommend himself to us and has to deliver good work. That also means development work, but that can be combined well, I think.”


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