BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Doha, Qatar, 21/10/2015, FIM Superbike World Championship
At the season finale of the 2015 FIM World Superbike Championship (WSBK), the BMW racers competed in front of a spectacular backdrop: The final two races of the year took place under the floodlights of the state-of-the-art Losail International Circuit in Qatar last weekend.
In the desert just outside Doha, two challenges faced the teams and riders: the unusual schedule and the incredible heat. The practice sessions, the Superpole and the races were all held in the evening. This saw the riders climb onto their bikes at a time at which they would normally be involved in final discussions with their teams before returning to their hotel. Even in the evenings, temperatures were still above 30 degrees.
However, the lighting wasn't a problem for anyone: 3,600 sources of light distributed between 1,000 floodlight masts make an area the size of 70 football pitches as bright as day. The riders can even use dark visors. 500 kilometres of cables were laid. This impressive floodlight system cost no less than ten million euros.
BMW Motorrad Italia SBK rider Ayrton Badovini rode under floodlights for the first time in Losail. He spent Friday getting used to the unusual conditions. He continued to improve his lap time on his BMW S 1000 RR in the practice session on Saturday. But he wasn't able to get the right feel for the qualifying tyres in Superpole 1. The Italian ended up starting in 14th place from the fifth row of the grid.
Badovini got off to a good start in both races, and his good pace enabled him to move up the field. In race one, which got underway at 7 p.m. local time, he finished in 11th place. In race two, which started at 10 p.m. local time, he rode into the top ten. He was in ninth place until shortly before the end, but made a minor mistake and crossed the finish line in tenth.
“All in all the weekend’s gone fairly well. We had some problems at the start but then we gradually found a good set-up,” summed up Badovini. “I hoped to do a bit better in race 1. I was in a group of riders all very close to each other, but conditions at the end were difficult and I was unable to make up positions. It was a pity for race 2 because I was doing well and could have reached sixth or seventh place, but I made a mistake a few laps from the end and fell back from those ahead of me.”
BMW Team Tóth had reason to celebrate once again at the finale: Both riders finished in the points and equaled the Hungarian team's previous best result in the World Superbike Championship. Gábor Rizmayer finished in 13th place in both races on his BMW S 1000 RR. His team-mate Imre Tóth picked up points for 14th in race two (17th in the first race). This saw the two riders bag a total of eight points; the same number as at the race weekend in Misano.