BMW Motorrad Motorsport
MotorLand Aragón, Spain, 08/04/2019, FIM Superbike World Championship
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team has made more great steps forward with the brand-new BMW S 1000 RR. At the third round of the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) in Spanish MotorLand Aragón, the team claimed top five placings in two of the three races held.
Tom Sykes already impressed Superpole and then secured fifth place as well as in Saturday’s first main race as in Sunday’s Superpole Race. In Sunday’s second race, he struggled and had to settle with 12th. Markus Reiterberger also demonstrated a strong pace but experienced a lot of bad luck. So “Reiti” had two DNFs and one 15th place – these results really don’t mirror his performance.
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team now moves to Assen in the Netherlands, where the fourth round of the 2019 WorldSBK season takes place this coming weekend (12th to 14th April).
The two BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team riders already gave an impressive performance in Superpole qualifying on Saturday morning. Sykes claimed third position on his RR to secure a front-row start, while Reiterberger’s seventh place also was his best Superpole result yet this season.
Sykes moved up into second place right after the start of Saturday’s race. He then fell back to eighth as the race continued, but improved by two places during a strong ride in the closing stage and started the final lap in sixth position. One of his competitors fell on that final lap, meaning that Sykes crossed the line in fifth place. Reiterberger, however, endured some bad luck as he collided with another rider immediately after the start. He was unable to continue the race after the incident.
It was a successful start to Sunday, too, with Sykes claiming second place in warm-up and Reiterberger in fifth. In the following Superpole race, Sykes repeated his performance from Saturday’s race one to claim a top-five place. Reiterberger was forced to retire with an issue with the primary gear. Sykes was in fifth place with his RR on the starting grid for race two, while Reiterberger began the race from 11th position.
Sykes was able to defend his position before taking a wide line through one turn and slipping back a few places. The British rider lost more ground towards the mid-point of the race before crossing the line in 12th place. Reiterberger also had a difficult time, finishing in 15th place.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:
“Overall, we feel that we had a very good weekend that unfortunately ended in a disappointing way. Of course, we were really pleased with Superpole on Saturday morning. We had given an indication of our strength in the free practice sessions which was confirmed when we claimed third and seventh places in qualifying. It was great to be on the front row for the first time this season and Tom made a very good start to the race. He struggled somewhat for a few laps during the early phase but he battled back really well at the end. He enjoyed a bit of luck to finish fifth, but he would have secured sixth place on his own merits. We are very pleased. It is clear for all to see that everything we do represents a step forward, even it if is just a small one. Unfortunately, Markus did not have a good start and being hit by another rider caused him to fall. As such, he could not demonstrate the good race pace he had already shown. Of course it’s a shame that we had such a tough final race after the good results in the first main race, and in the Superpole race. After race two, both riders told us that the tyres had very little grip, but that alone cannot be the reason. Markus had a few problems with the electronics in the second race. We would have liked to have carried the positive feelings into the next race, but we will just try and forget about it and pick up where we left off in the Superpole Race.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team:
“Aragón has been a great step forward for the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and I think for sure Tom has shown now that we have made a significant step forward. Superpole was really exciting. To be on the front row despite going wide in the final corner was fantastic for Tom and the team. In the first race, Markus unfortunately had a racing incident, a 50/50 incident, and he was very lucky to escape unharmed. Tom had taken the decision to go with the SC1 rear compound tyre, which is a bit harder. We knew it would be difficult to manage at the beginning of the race but would come stronger at the end of the race. For that reason I think he fully deserves the fifth position. We obviously then started Sunday’s Superpole race in a good situation. Tom fought really well; Markus had a technical issue which sadly put him out and had to start from 11th in the second main race. But Tom had a strong Superpole Race; he battled through. We can obviously see where the deficiencies are with the bike but I think overall it has been a promising weekend and we’ve made some good steps forward. Clearly, the main race was difficult for us to watch. Markus again had a technical issue and Tom was really struggling with grip. Once he was in a group of riders, he was clearly faster in the corners but slower on the straights and he was always in a difficult situation. It was a long race for him and one by one he got picked of. Eventually he brought the bike home with points. Not where we wanted to be but two strong races out of three has not been too bad this weekend.”
“Honestly, it has been a very positive weekend for the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. I honestly feel that we have again made some steps forward. I am very impressed and also there have been a lot of people inside the racing paddock who have commented on the potential of the BMW S 1000 RR, so I think we are heading in the right direction and are definitely making good progress. Again – to repeat myself – considering the limited amount of track time we have had, I think it’s even more impressive than our expectation. In Superpole, I was a bit angry with myself going wide on the last corner as it could have been pole position but the target was front row and then top five for the race and we have achieved that. On the grid of race one, as the temperatures were quite cool, I opted for the harder rear tyre. It wasn’t too bad but after a few laps I could see that the sun would come out and temperatures rose but I enjoyed the race. I was battling with some guys who were on the softer tyre but the RR chassis is certainly working really well. I am enjoying riding the BMW S 1000 RR and I’m quite satisfied. It was my decision on the tyre and I just got caught out a bit with the rising temperature. Everything was good, we were top five in most of the sessions, we almost – with the exception of my mistake in Superpole – almost showed an incredible potential speed. And then in the final race, it’s not a big problem, just if I am being blunt, we did not have the correct rear traction, which is a shame because the bike did not change and on the same tyre I was so fast during the race weekend. So with my honest opinion and with my experience I certainly feel we perhaps did not have a tyre that was to its full potential. It made my race very difficult and longer than anticipated and it’s a shame as our speed was certainly good enough to be inside the top five or top four again. So it was a bit of a disappointment on a great weekend but this is part of racing. Sometimes these things happen and we will be making up for this moving forward.”
“Superpole went well. We were improving all the time in practice and had developed a good feel for the bike. We took another step in the right direction in Superpole. I didn’t do quite so well on race tyres but in qualifying I did improve by a second. We were happy enough with seventh place, especially when you consider that I was just two tenths of a second away from third. We showed that we can compete on a fast lap. Unfortunately, I had a bad start, I stood a bit in a wrong position and then things happened very fast. Jonathan Rea hit me from the side, which meant that I lost control of the handlebar and took a tumble. It’s a shame about the race, as it would have been interesting to see where we could have finished. After my fall, I was not sure how I would feel, but I was back to normal Sunday morning and the medical check gave me the green light. I felt great during warm-up and I managed to produce eight to ten really fast laps. That meant that I was ready for the race. We changed the ratio a bit for the Superpole race as the wind was so strong, so we were expecting some slipstream duels. It didn’t feel so bad during the early laps, however, I suddenly got a warning in the cockpit and also heard some noises and had to park up the bike. That was annoying, as it meant starting the second race from 11th place. I made a normal start but once again it was another rider who knocked my handlebar - this time it was Michael van der Mark. I was just about able to stop myself from falling again. I recovered from that but then I had two massive highsiders that I was just about able to deal with. Something was not quite right and I think, but am not sure, that it could have been a problem with the tyres. In any case, it proved impossible to ride it out and I just wanted to get over the line for the points. Now we will analyse what the problem was, carry on working and start afresh at Assen.”
5th Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
DNF Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
5th Tom Sykes
DNF Markus Reiterberger
12th Tom Sykes
15th Markus Reiterberger