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BMW Motorrad Motorsport

Laguna Seca, USA, 15/07/2019, FIM Superbike World Championship

The third podium in WorldSBK

P3 in the Superpole race

The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team claimed the third podium for the new BMW S 1000 RR in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK). Tom Sykes finished third in Sunday’s Superpole race at Laguna Seca. In Saturday’s opening race, Sykes was fourth. In race two on Sunday he crossed the line in fifth. Markus Reiterberger was 15th in the first race. On Sunday, he finished the Superpole race in P12 and the second race in P13.

Laguna Seca hosted the ninth round of the 2019 season. The WorldSBK is now heading for a summer break. The next round will be held from 6th to 8th September in Portimão, Portugal.

The race action

In the closing minutes of Saturday’s Superpole, Sykes was able to take advantage of the faster qualifying tyres to secure fourth place and a spot on the second row of the grid. Shortly after the start of the race, the Brit briefly sprinted into second place on his RR, however then dropped back to fifth in the turmoil of the first few corners. When Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) crashed in front of him, Sykes moved back into fourth place and never looked back. Reiterberger, back in the team after a severe viral infection and making his first appearance at Laguna Seca, improved consistently. He ended Superpole in eleventh place, before picking up one point for 15th place in the race.

Sunday morning’s Superpole sprint race was interrupted due to an accident shortly after the start, before restarting with a reduced, eight-lap format. Sykes secured fourth place on the grid, but Bautista was missing from the front row. Sykes immediately moved into third place and crossed the line without ever being in danger of losing that position. Reiterberger started the sprint race from eleventh position, finishing in twelfth place.

Sunday afternoon, Sykes started race two from third place, while Reiterberger began in twelfth. Sykes lost one place in the first turn and remained fourth until lap 13, when Alex Lowes (Yamaha) passed him. He closed up on Lowes again, crossing the line just half a second behind him in fifth place. Reiterberger moved up to eleventh for a while after overtaking Sandro Cortese (Yamaha). He maintained this position until the 14th lap, before falling back a little and finishing the race in 13th place.

Quotes after the races at Laguna Seca

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:
“Saturday’s fourth place was a solid fourth result. Finding the right set-up for the bike was far more difficult here than at recent events. However, the result is once again very satisfying. Markus improved consistently as he learned more about this complex circuit throughout the sessions leading up to qualifying. In the opening race, however, he had difficulties. Sunday was a good day to round off a great weekend – a podium in the Superpole race and then another solid performance and fifth place for Tom in the second race. Markus was able to improve throughout the day and close the gap to the riders in front. We have some homework to do and we won’t see our competitors again before the tests at Portimão at the end of August. A large part of the team is now heading for some well-deserved vacation time. We can be very pleased with the season so far as we have clearly exceeded our expectations.”

Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team:
“We went into Superpole with some unknowns what the best setting would be. Anyway, Tom did a great job. He put the qualifying tyre in and managed to secure P4 on the grid which was fantastic. It was on his second lap which is quite unusual; we did not expect to get two laps out of the tyre. Markus made a big progress and a good job in the Superpole. In the opening race, Tom got a great start, he could have cut across the two Ducatis into turn two but it could have been a bit of a risky move. Anyway he played it safe which was wise. He consolidated the race after Alvaro went out and got a good fourth position. I think it just epitomises the kind of approach from Tom. We’re making progress; we don’t want to put it in the gravel trap but be able to gather valuable data. Markus’s opening race was very difficult. He struggled, he ran off the track. Tom then claimed a great result in today’s sprint race. He rode really well; to take the third position and a front row start for race two was a solid performance all around. In the second race, as we hoped, he had a pretty good start, only Toprak got in front of him, he slotted in and was in a solid fourth position. Alex Lowes got by him after he made a mistake and then he recovered well. He dropped two seconds and pulled that right back. If there had been another lap he probably would have got fourth back. So it was great progress by Tom and they can go into the summer break happy. Markus had a reasonably good Sunday. The sprint race showed more progression but I was even more happy in the second race. He rode some pretty good lap times and overall it was a big improvement on his race one result. So overall we can be pleased going back home and we can make a plan exactly what we need to focus on in the next phase of the development of the bike.”

Tom Sykes:
“We’ve come away again with a bag full of top-5 finishes, including a podium in the sprint race. Overall it was a very productive weekend for the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. The bike seems to be not getting the best from the tyres at the moment but we got a lot of information this weekend and having said that it was a complete different story at the end of that race two. We had a lot of pace and I closed the gap to Alex Lowes so that’s certainly positive to take with us. We now have the summer break coming up so it’s just cool that at the right time we got a lot of information at the weekend and hopefully now the guys in the team can put this to good use. There are still areas to work on but overall the whole package is quite promising and having three podiums at the last three rounds is not too bad against these experienced manufacturers. I’m enjoying riding, have a great relationship with the team and BMW and it’s needless to say that we are heading in the right direction. I think everybody has seen that the progress we’ve made from the opening round until now has been quite impressive.”

Markus Reiterberger:
“Friday was all about getting to know the circuit and finding the set-up for the bike. Saturday, I was far quicker in the third practice session and Superpole. We improved consistently and I was able to secure a place on the fourth row of the grid which was not too bad. Unfortunately, we possibly opted for the wrong tyre in the opening race and changed the settings a little, which did not have the desired effect. The restart in the Superpole race was great. I made up a few places and crossed the line in a decent twelfth position. For the second race, we chose different tyres to yesterday. They were reliable for the first 15 laps but then there was a big drop with lots of movement and then it was just about getting to the finish. Unfortunately, that meant I lost two places. I did have my eye on the top ten but I missed out on that, however, we did score a few points. I had hoped for more from the weekend as I know that I can do much better. That’s why I’m hoping we can find a way for me to attack properly with the bike and go really fast. We have to continue working on it and then the breakthrough will come. I would like to thank the team as they gave it everything again this weekend.”

Results FIM Superbike World Championship, Laguna Seca:

Race 1:

4th Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
15th Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)

Superpole Race:

3rd Tom Sykes
12th Markus Reiterberger

Race 2:

5th Tom Sykes
13th Markus Reiterberger