BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Munich, Germany, 26/02/2019,
The time of waiting is finally over: at the weekend, a new chapter in the history of BMW Motorrad Motorsport started. The brand new BMW S 1000 RR made its race debut at Phillip Island in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) just three months after the production version was presented to the world public.
BMW Motorrad Motorsport, the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and the riders Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger had a total of six test days on the track during the winter. One of the tests was held at Phillip Island, where Sykes set the second fastest (!) lap time. Then the first race weekend in Australia was already on - and the new RR continued to cause a stir. In the practice sessions on Friday, Sykes and Reiterberger joined in the established competition and finished the day in fourth and eighth.
In the Superpole qualifying on Saturday, Sykes again rode to fourth place. In the first race he finished seventh. Reiterberger took 13th place in the Superpole after some issues with a sensor. In this position he also finished race one. What a start: the first race of a brand new machine, and both riders rode straight to the points.
On site at the race track was Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad. He had flown to Australia to support the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team at the race debut of the new RR: “The first race was an immensely important milestone for us, and we can be very satisfied with the result“, Dr. Schramm commented on Saturday. „We knew that our new BMW S 1000 RR has a very good base for its use in WorldSBK but we certainly could not expect that both riders would score points in the first race. A big compliment to the entire team and colleagues at home in Munich and Berlin for the work done in the short development time. Nevertheless, we also saw today that we still have great potential.”
On Sunday, a novelty was on the program: the “Superpole Race” over ten laps. With temperatures being higher than on the previous days, Sykes and Reiterberger took the places 11 and 12. Sykes was then tenth on the starting grid for the second race, Reiterberger was in 13th position. In the opening stage, Sykes had a ‘moment’ when battling with another rider and lost positions while Reiterberger fell back slightly at the start. Over the course of the race, however, both riders worked their way forward and together were part of a closely fighting group of five. The two team-mates also exchanged positions several times. Ultimately, Reiterberger finished 12th, 1.3 seconds ahead of Sykes in 13th position.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:
“We have to be satisfied with the first race weekend with our brand new BMW S 1000 RR. We could, however, also see in the ‘Superpole Race’ and in race two that we still can’t recall our true pace. We still lose on the straight, but at other points of the track we are then right behind the competition again. If we were alone on the track, we would set top-six or top-eight times, but if we are in a race in the pack, we can’t reproduce them because we are stuck. So the positive thing is that our theoretical pace is already very good. But we were aware of that when we came here after the few test days and now we will do everything we can to improve in our straight-line deficit. But this first race weekend makes me basically confident for the course of the season.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team:
“We’ve got to be realistic and we have probably reached our goals for the first time we raced the BMW S 1000 RR so we are very happy. We have had no major incidents and I think that we have proved that the bike is going to be competitive very soon. We clearly have our limitations at the moment and we will work hard on sorting them out in the break before the next races. Both riders rode very well and both have been very patient in understanding that we need to wait for the development parts to come through. So from my side the overall summary is that we can look forward to a very competitive bike over the course of the season. We just need to be patient and wait for that to arrive.”
“Consistently, we have been there in the mix so I am obviously quite surprised about the progress of the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. To be so competitive after just six test days is quite special. Sunday unfortunately has been a challenging day but I have to say that our results do not reflect where we really are. It is just unfortunate that at the moment the bike still has some limitations in straight-line performance but it’s still very early days. On the positive side we have a very good chassis set-up so we were able to make some good passes but then lost again on the easy part of the track. We have shown what is possible by being in the top-five during all tests and practices when we are riding alone, so we know which area we have to work on with the bike and we now have some race mileage under our belt. And I know that now the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team will work hard to keep progressing like we did over winter.”
“We continued to improve in Saturday’s morning practice, but in the Superpole, we had an issue with a sensor but I also have to admit that I did not have that comfortable feeling and therefore didn’t have a good lap. Unfortunately my start was not the best, and on the first laps I tried to save the rear tyre for the distance. I succeeded, but overall it was just not possible to finish further ahead. Position 13 is not what I personally expected, but for BMW, finishing seventh was a good result. Sunday was much better. I really enjoyed the race. Even though I missed my goal, the top-ten, I could at least see that it was possible. I would have had the necessary pace if I had not started so far back after difficulties in qualifying and if I had made a better start. In the race itself I had a better feeling from the beginning, and above all more self-confidence. Although the grip level was even worse at today’s higher temperatures than yesterday, we did a good job and took another step in the right direction. I was able to out-brake some opponents and gain a lot in the corners – that’s where our BMW S 1000 RR is really phenomenal. Unfortunately overtaking is still difficult for us because we lose at the corner exit and on the straight. I take the positives: the top-ten was possible, the feeling is better and the direction is right. I would like to thank the entire team that works tirelessly to make this progress possible. We are competing in the world championship; that’s not a walk in the park. We are a very young project and the potential is definitely there. Now I can’t wait until we head to the next races.”
Phillip Island also hosted the season opener of the 2019 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) at the weekend. Glenn Allerton (AUS) from the NextGen Motorsports / Maxima BMW team was the highest placed BMW rider. In the three races held, he claimed two seventh places and one ninth place. His team-mate Ted Collins (AUS) finished 11th twice and once in tenth position.
7th Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
13th Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
11th Tom Sykes
12th Markus Reiterberger
12th Markus Reiterberger
13th Tom Sykes
7th Glenn Allerton (NextGen Motorsports / Maxima BMW Racing)
11th Ted Collins (NextGen Motorsports / Maxima BMW Racing)
29th Aleksander Savin (I.D.C. Painting Service & Castrol Racing Australia)
30th Paul van der Heiden (Moto Adelaide)
7th Glenn Allerton
11th Ted Collins
28th Paul van der Heiden
DNF Aleksander Savin
9th Glenn Allerton
10th Ted Collins
26th Aleksander Savin
29th Paul van der Heiden