BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Misano, Italy, 24/06/2019, FIM Superbike World Championship
When the chequered flag was waved at Misano, the joy in the garage of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team knew no bounds. Tom Sykes finished runner-up in Saturday’s race to claim the first podium for the new BMW S 1000 RR in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK). Despite racing in treacherous conditions, Sykes kept a cool head and was on course for a podium finish throughout the entire race which was red flagged due to rain.
One of the first to congratulate was Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad, who followed the Misano race weekend on-site. “Congratulations to Tom Sykes and the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team”, Dr. Schramm said after the successful race on Saturday. “It is fantastic that our fledgling project has been able to celebrate the first WorldSBK podium for the new BMW S 1000 RR at only the seventh event of the season. This is confirmation of the commitment, passion and hard work that everyone in the team has put into the project since we started out in the winter. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone. Tom gave a fantastic, commanding performance in the rain. And the team gave him a bike, in the RR, that was capable of a podium finish. We can be very proud of what we have achieved today.”
The team confirmed the performance of the new RR on Sunday but bad luck prevented them from celebrating more podium finishes. In the Superpole race, Sykes again was on course for a podium finish but retired due to a mechanical issue. In race two, held on Sunday afternoon, he finished sixth. Team-mate Markus Reiterberger was 15th in Saturday’s race one. In Sunday’s Superpole Race, he crossed the line in 13th and in the main race, he was eleventh.
Sykes laid the foundation for his podium result in Saturday morning’s dry Superpole qualifying when he landed his RR on the front row of the grid in third place. However, patience was initially the order of the day on Saturday afternoon. A heavy shower caused the start of race one to be delayed by 25 minutes. Sykes defended third place and held on to the position until inclement weather caused the race to be red flagged. The race eventually restarted after another break of almost half an hour. Sykes once again showed his wet-weather ability, not only keeping the chasing pack at bay, but also opening up a small gap to fourth place. When leader Alex Lowes crashed out on lap nine of 18, Sykes adopted second position – and never looked at risk of losing that place.
Reiterberger had finished 12th in Superpole qualifying. However, he fell back through the field in the opening stages of Saturday’s race. After the interruption, he started the remaining 18 laps from 17th place. While many other riders crashed in the difficult conditions, Reiterberger guided his RR home in 15th place to pick up another world championship point.
Sykes started Sunday morning’s Superpole sprint from third place on the grid. He initially dropped back in the battle at the front of the field, however regained third place when two riders crashed in front of him. He went into the final lap with the next podium in sight, but was then forced to retire shortly before the finish. After ten laps of racing, Reiterberger crossed the finish line in 13th place.
The results of the Superpole race meant that Sykes started the afternoon’s second race from eleventh place, ahead of Reiterberger in 14th. By the end of the second lap of the main race, the two RR riders had both made progress through the field. Sykes was eighth, while Reiterberger lay 12th. In the closing stages, Sykes rejoined the group battling for the third spot on the podium. He ultimately came home sixth, just 1.8 seconds outside the top three. Reiterberger also had a flawless ride to finish eleventh.
The next round will be held in two weeks’ time at Donington Park in the UK.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:
“We have achieved our first goal with the new BMW S 1000 RR in WorldSBK – we made it onto the podium. That is excellent, and the best possible reward for all the hard work the team has tirelessly put in. We set ourselves the goal of improving consistently towards the front of the field. With Tom’s second place on Saturday, we have taken the next step. It is obviously a shame that we were denied our next podium by a mechanical issue Sunday morning. However, you must not forget that this kind of thing can always happen with a fledgling project like ours. We will analyse what the cause was. That is part of the learning process. After the podium in Saturday’s race, the sprint and main race on Sunday also allowed us to demonstrate the progress we have made with the development of the RR. The performance was spot on. If Tom had started from further up the grid in the afternoon, he could have challenged for a spot on the podium again. In the end, he missed out by under two seconds. However, his sixth place was another good result. The hard work also paid off for Markus and his crew. They took a step forward and this is the direction to go now. We now must continue this positive trend at Donington Park.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team:
“We are absolutely delighted for everyone at BMW, for the whole project, for everyone in Germany and in Guisborough at SMR. The podium finish has been a proper joint team effort and it is absolutely fantastic, to have Dr. Markus Schramm, the Head of BMW Motorrad, here to witness that. It was a very difficult, stressful period on Saturday with the delayed start and the re-start. But anyway, we had a full 18-lap race and Tom thoroughly enjoyed riding in the wet and more than earned his P2 in the race. In Sunday’s sprint race, he again has put all his effort in and got very little reward when, with half a lap to go, he had a mechanical DNF when he could have been on the podium. That would also have meant third on the grid for the second main race but he had to go from P11 on the grid – and came within 1.8 seconds of the podium in the end. I think that shows the talent and effort that he put in there. So, we apologise to Tom for not giving him the tools on Sunday. However, I think we can all see that there has been real progress and he is going to come back strong for sure at Donington. Markus, on the other hand, is still struggling to find his real form and we’re not yet where we want to be. We will look at all the data, sit down, discuss the set-up for Donington and hopefully cooler track temperatures will be very good towards our tyre wear and he and Tom can come back and do a good job at our home round.”
“To say that I am very happy about the podium would be a slight understatement. I am very, very happy and it’s just credit to all the guys in the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. We’ve been working really hard and finally we’ve got the result which I feel we deserve. I really enjoyed riding in Saturday’s wet conditions. The BMW S 1000 RR gave me some great feedback. Sunday was a little bit unfortunate. I really honestly feel that we had three podiums in reach. We were third in the sprint race until the last lap and then unfortunately we retired. That, was also unfortunate, meaning that I started the last big race from the fourth row which cost me some time in the first few laps. I feel if we had started from the front row we could have gone away, kept our rhythm and I definitely feel that this would have allowed another podium position. So a little bit of a shame but on the plus side we’ve had a podium, we finished second this weekend with the all-new BMW S 1000 RR, we are showing its potential. Even in this last race we had very good consistency. We will build on this.”
“Congratulations to Tom and the team on a superb Saturday’s result and the first podium for BMW. I was a little surprised that it rained Saturday morning. However, I was happy about that, as I was quick in the rain during the test here. I gave it my all in the Superpole, but it was only good enough for 12th on the grid. Unfortunately, Saturday’s wet race was disappointing. I lost positions in the first part, as my starting position meant I had absolutely no visibility in the spray. I was then able to make up a few places in the second part of the race, but touched the white line during an overtaking manoeuvre, got my braking wrong and had to veer off into the gravel. After that, I just made sure I finished. Fortunately, I picked up a point. Sunday was better, although my start was not so good in the Superpole race and a mistake cost me valuable time. The result was that I had to settle for 14th on the grid in race two. However, I made a good start and was able to hold on to 12th and later 11th place for the whole race. I did my best, did not make any mistakes, and brought the BMW S 1000 RR home safe and sound. The track conditions were more difficult on Sunday. It was very hot and I have never known there be so little grip. It was tough for everyone, but we coped well. We have taken a small step forward, which gives us more confidence. We will continue to work hard to improve. So a big thank you to the whole team.”
2nd Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
15th Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
13th Markus Reiterberger
DNF Tom Sykes
6th Tom Sykes
12th Markus Reiterberger