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BMW Motorrad Motorsport

Magny-Cours, France, 30/09/2019, FIM Superbike World Championship

The next podium in WorldSBK

P3 for Tom Sykes at Magny-Cours

Tom Sykes claimed another WorldSBK podium for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and the new BMW S 1000 RR. Sykes ended an exciting Saturday race at Magny-Cours in third place, having actually led the race in the early stages. On Sunday, Sykes was eighth both in the Superpole Race and the second main race. Team-mate Markus Reiterberger endured a difficult weekend, finishing the races in 16th, 17th and 15th positions.

Magny-Cours was the venue for round eleven of this season’s FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK). The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team now travels to San Juan in Argentina, where the penultimate round of the season will take place in two weeks’ time (11th to 13th October). The finale will be held in Qatar at the end of October.

The race action

Saturday morning’s Superpole was delayed by half an hour due to a dirty track. Earlier rainfall meant conditions were still wet and the special qualifying tyres could not be used. Sykes was sixth fastest on his RR, earning him a spot on the second row of the grid. Reiterberger qualified 19th.

By the start of Saturday’s race at 14:00, the majority of the track was dry. Starting from sixth place, Sykes soon worked his way through the field and took the lead on his RR on lap two. He fended off all the attacks from behind and held onto first place in a fiercely-competitive leading group until lap six. The battles for position continued at the front of the field, and initially saw Sykes drop back to fifth place. When Michael van der Mark (Yamaha) crashed out of the lead, Sykes adopted fourth place. However, the Brit was not happy with that position and pulled off a courageous manoeuvre on the penultimate lap to overtake Frenchman Loris Baz (Yamaha) and went on to claim another podium in third place. Reiterberger came home 16th, narrowly missing out on the points by just 0.3 seconds.

As in the opening race on Saturday, Sykes soon worked his way into fourth place in Sunday morning’s Superpole Race. This time, however, he was unable to mix it with the front-runners and eventually had to settle for eighth place. Consequently, Sykes started the second main race on Saturday afternoon from eighth place. He initially climbed to sixth place, but then dropped back through the field over the course of the race, eventually crossing the finish line eighth after 21 laps of racing. Reiterberger started the Superpole race and race two from 19th place. He was 17th in the morning, before finishing 15th to score one point in the afternoon race.

Quotes after the races at Magny-Cours

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:
“Tom’s third place on Saturday was a strong result after chaotic weather conditions on Friday and Saturday morning. The practices on Friday, which took place in unsettled weather, were positive for Tom, although that was not reflected directly in the results. Tom’s first lap was simply fantastic. By lap two we were running P1. From then on, the race was very eventful and full of changes. In all the commotion, we dropped back to fifth place. However, Tom delivered a really strong performance in the closing stages too, which allowed us to claim our next podium finish – with a little help from our rivals. Markus has been struggling with his confidence in the set-up of his RR all weekend. Unfortunately, he was also plagued by a problem with the electronics in Saturday’s race which made his performances look worse. Sunday was disappointing for us. The set-up changes we tried out in the warm-up did not have the desired effect for Tom. We were unable to back up the performance we showed on Saturday. The track temperatures were significantly higher, even in the earlier Superpole race. After a strong start, we fell back through the field. We also started strongly in race two, but then lost roughly a second per lap to our rivals, which meant we had no chance of challenging for a spot on the podium. We are lacking mechanical grip when accelerating in the lean position. This becomes all the more important as soon as the track temperature starts to rise. We must now see whether we can react in time for the next races, in order to learn as much as possible and to end the season strongly.”

Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team:
“Overall, race one was probably the best race of the season. Tom took the lead and battled really well, he conserved his tyre well and set a solid pace and maintained that pace to the very end. As expected, he got closer to the front guys towards the end of the race and picked off Loris Baz in the final few laps so we are extremely happy to add another podium to the season. The Superpole race was quite difficult for all of us. Tom struggled a bit on the faster parts of the circuit. He settled into a position we had to be happy with although it was a bit disappointing after yesterday. In Sunday’s main race, Tom got a really good start and was with the front guys but sadly he could not find the confidence and performance he had yesterday. He was a second per lap slower and finished way off the top-3 or top-4. The whole team needs to have a look at the data and the information and try to understand why this happened. After such a great Saturday it was disappointing to take a step backwards and we need to try to rectify this for Argentina. Markus really struggled and overall it has been a difficult event for him.”

Tom Sykes:
“Saturday’s was eventful and an absolute pleasure. I really enjoyed riding that one. A credit to the whole team; we’ve made some changes to the bike in between Portimão and here and it’s just nice as I am able to do things a little bit better on the track. I really enjoyed that race, especially in the beginning, battling with a few guys and just feeling in a better position and being able to fight. A podium with just the two Kawasakis in front is really promising here given that we are only ten months into the programme. I was obviously a bit disappointed with Sunday but we were struggling in certain areas with the bike and I really tried to ride around some of the issues. But we certainly made some progress in terms of a couple of things and feel quite confident in some areas and just need to work again now on another part of the chassis to enable us to be stronger over the distance. So it was a slightly disappointing day given the result on paper but also a day where we got a lot of information so hopefully we can build on this and move forward. There are a couple of difficult rounds coming up for us but we keep our head down, keep trying to progress and just keep the information coming before we go into the winter break.”

Markus Reiterberger:
“The weekend was really tough. I think that our results do not show our potential and are for sure not where we want to be – neither me nor the team. We need to find a solution to improve my feeling for the bike so I can ride faster. I want to reach the top ten – that is my goal for the final two rounds of the season. I want to thank the entire team for their hard work and sorry for the bad results.”

Results FIM Superbike World Championship, Magny-Cours:

Race 1:

3rd Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
16th Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)

Superpole Race:

8th Tom Sykes
17th Markus Reiterberger

Race 2:

8th Tom Sykes
15th Markus Reiterberger