BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Silverstone, Great Britain, 13/04/2016, British Superbike Championship
The BMW Motorrad Motorsport community enjoyed a perfect start to the British Superbike Championship (BSB): the first race weekend in Silverstone yielded a victory for Michael Laverty and a further two podium finishes for Christian Iddon in the Superbike class (BSB SBK), as well as a dominant top-five lock-out for the RR in the Superstock race (BSB STK).
One thing was clear by the end of the weekend: the BMW S 1000 RR is one of the bikes to beat this season in the prestigious BSB. With the support of HP Race Support, the BMW teams have taken another step forward in the BSB. The Tyco BMW team alone picked up five podium finishes at the season-opener in Silverstone: three with the Superbike and two with the Superstock version of the RR. As such, the 2016 BSB season began with a visit to the podium for the Technical Director of BMW Motorrad Motorsport, Berthold Hauser: he was sent onto the podium by the Tyco BMW team to receive the trophy for the winning manufacturer.
Victory saw Tyco BMW rider Michael Laverty carry on where he left off at the end of the 2015 season: on the top step of the podium. He set the pace in the BSB SBK in the first of the two races in Silverstone. Starting from sixth on the grid, he had moved to the head of the field by the end of the opening lap. He then led from the front and controlled the race to take a dominant victory.
“It was a very nice feeling to win that first race. And it was quite important as we showed from the first race what our plan is this year,” said Laverty. He and the team worked hard over the winter. He himself spent a lot of time in Spain where he fine-tuned his fitness with intensive training routines, MotoCross and Enduro rides, and countless kilometres on his bicycle. Tyco then travelled to Spain for testing in March: “We mainly concentrated on fine-tuning what was already a good package from last year to make sure we arrived at the first round as prepared as possible.”
“The hard work that everyone has put in really paid off,” said Laverty. “I had the extra bit of confidence that I am physically as well prepared as possible. The hard work by the team at the workshop, preparing the bike to the next level, gave me the confidence that I have the best engine on the track. The electronics matched it, as did the chassis. We were able to ride very smoothly and very fast.”
Laverty went in pursuit of a second victory on his RR in race two. His tactics were once again to take an early lead and then control matters from the front. However, that all went out of the window on lap eight. “It was quite a strange scenario. All of a sudden I was starting to get a lot of water on my visor. So I thought it was raining and approached the next corners with caution. I was getting passed and slipped from first position to eighth place in one lap. After that I realised that everyone was pushing. I took a tear off und looked to the sky. It took me a bit too long to figure out that it wasn’t raining but that the water was coming from a leak in the radiator cap. But at 200 miles an hour, when you get water on your visor it seems like rain.”
Laverty went back on the attack: “On the last three laps I set fast times to make up ground, but I had lost too much time. It was impossible to get back for the win.” He eventually had to settle for sixth place. “That result scored us some good points for the championship. So it was not a disaster, but the double would have been really sweet and to lead the championship after the first round would have been perfect for the team’s hard work and effort. But there is a lot more to come this season.”
Laverty’s team-mate Christian Iddon underlined the impressive performance of Tyco BMW. The newcomer to the BMW Motorrad Motorsport family was contesting his first races on the RR in Silverstone. He promptly achieved a double podium – his first in the BSB. Iddon finished third in both races.
“It was an awesome weekend from start to finish. The team improved my Tyco BMW S 1000 RR session on session despite difficult conditions. I said I wanted a solid start to 2016 with Tyco BMW and that will do just nicely,” said Iddon.
In total, no fewer than nine BMW S 1000 RRs competed in the races in the Superbike class. This was nearly a third of the whole field – evidence of the belief that the BSB teams have in the potential of the RR and the support provided by HP Race Support.
Youngster Lee Jackson is in his second BSB SBK season on the RR run by the Buildbase BMW Motorrad team. His goal is to build and continue to improve on what was a learning year in 2015. He showed with two top-eight finishes that he has established himself in the strong field: Jackson was eighth in race one and finished seventh in the second race. His team-mate Richard Cooper ended the two races in 12th and 11th.
Another new face in the BMW family is that of Czech rider Jakub Smrz. The former WorldSBK rider races in the BSB SBK with Smiths Racing BMW this season. He finished 15th to score points in both the opening races of the year. Alastair Seeley also picked up two championship points. Last year he was in contention for the Superstock title on the RR. 2016 sees him race on the Superbike fielded by the Royal Air Force Regular & Reserve Team. Seeley, known by everyone as the “Wee Wizard”, finished 14th in race two having failed to finish the opening race.
The Superstock race produced a historic success for the BMW riders: they completed a top-five lock-out for the production-based version of the BMW S 1000 RR in Silverstone. In the BSB STK too, the success of recent years has resulted in an even larger contingent of BMW riders. 14 BMW S 1000 RRs were in action in Silverstone.
Taylor MacKenzie won on the Buildbase BMW Motorrad RR, clocking the fastest race lap in the process. Second and third places went to Tyco BMW riders Josh Elliott and Ian Hutchinson. Stepping onto the podium was a particularly emotional moment for Hutchinson. Six years ago he suffered a horrific crash in a Supersport race in Silverstone, which almost resulted in him losing his left leg. “Hutchy” underwent many operations and has been working on his comeback for a long time. “What a way to avenge what happened here six years ago. Thanks to the whole team for the effort,” said Hutchinson. The 11-time winner of the Isle of Man TT races on the road racing scene with Tyco BMW this year, and also starts in the BSB STK in preparation for these outings.
South African Hudson Kennaugh (Trikmoto Bahnstormer BMW), an old hand on the RR, finished fourth. Michael Rutter on the Bathams SMT RR completed an all-BMW top five. BMW riders Leon Jeacock (GEO E Davies Racing) in 12th, Chrissy Rouse (CECS Mission Racing) in 13th and Rob McNealy (McNealy Brown Ltd.) in 14th also finished in the points.