BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Portimão, Portugal, 10/06/2015, FIM Superbike World Championship
The FIM World Superbike Championship (WSBK) and the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup (STK1000) stopped off in Portimão in southern Portugal last weekend. In the Superbike elite class, the fans experienced two turbulent races, in which Ayrton Badovini from the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team finished in seventh and 12th. BMW Motorrad privateer Roberto Tamburini was victorious in the Superstock category: He secured pole position on his RR and celebrated his second win of the season in a thrilling race.
The ninth weekend of the World Superbike Championship was held at the "Autódromo Internacional do Algarve" in the picturesque hinterland of Portimão. Ayrton Badovini from the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team continued the upward trend of recent weeks on Friday. The team and the BMW Motorrad Motorsport specialists used the day to tune the BMW S 1000 RR for the demands of the Portuguese track. Badovini rode consistently fast times in both sessions. In the first practice session, he finished sixth in hot and sunny conditions. In the second training session, the Italian improved further. Despite falling at the start and damaging his bike, his team repaired the RR in record time. Back on the track, Badovini beat his best time from the first practice session by eight tenths of a second and finished the session in fifth.
In the third free practice session on Saturday morning, Badovini was a further half a second faster and easily qualified for the deciding Superpole 2. However, in this session, in which the starting positions for the front rows are determined, he suffered further difficulty with the special qualifying tyres. Badovini struggled with this two weeks ago in Donington. Back then, He had a bad tyre that had no grip. This time the qualifier offered more grip, but Badovini wasn't able to turn this into a fast lap time. He had no grip in the high track temperatures and had difficulties accelerating out of the corners. The Italian qualified in tenth place on the fourth row.
Badovini instantly regained his speed when back on racing tyres. In the first race, he rode at a consistently high race pace. In the initial phase he moved up the field and was involved in the battle for fifth place after only a few laps. Another top five result was within reach with his quick pace. But then the weather gods intervened in the racing action. It started to rain quite heavily, and five laps before the end the entire field pitted to switch to rain tyres. Since the 2013 season, the WSBK has returned to riding "flag-to-flag" races. This means that a race is no longer aborted when the weather changes, rather the riders head to the pits if they want to change tyres while the race is running. The BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team completed a great pit stop and returned Badovini to the track quickly.
But the Italian now faced a totally new situation since he had never ridden in the rain on the 2015 version of the RR. Conditions were dry during all previous testing and race weekends. Badovini was superior in his mastering of the challenge of completing his first rain laps on the bike in a race - and on a motorcycle set up for dry conditions. Despite these adversities, he quickly found a good rhythm and crossed the finish line in seventh place on his RR. If the race had lasted a few more laps, he would have been able to further increase his pace in the rain and more than likely would have been able to make up another one or two positions. "My team worked incredibly quickly during the stop and in the end we got a good seventh place - despite this track not really suiting me and that I have never really got good results here," summed up a contented Badovini after race one.
The conditions were totally different in the second race. This time it was dry again and the track temperature rose from 29° Celsius to almost 40° Celsius. The team only made minor changes to the set-up of Badovini's RR. But the Italian was unable to exploit the potential of the bike as well as in the first race, and couldn't keep up with the pace of the leading pack this time. He had to make do with 12th place in the end. "I just couldn't find my rhythm and couldn't attack as I had intended to," he reported somewhat perplexed. At the official day of testing for the World Superbike Championship in Portimão on Monday, Badovini, the team and the engineers from Munich set about looking for the root cause of the problem in the second race.
Gábor Rizmayer of BMW Racing Team Tóth ended the two races in 19th and 18th. His team-mate Imre Tóth was forced to head to the pits with a technical problem in the first race. But he returned to the race and was 20th to cross the line. He finished the second race in 19th. Hoping for better results, the Hungarian team is upgrading its technology for the next race weekend, which will be held from 19th to 21st June in Misano, Italy, and will receive comprehensive support from BMW Motorrad Motorsport as well as new components for the chassis.
In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, it was the fifth race of the season in Portimão – in which BMW Motorrad privateer Roberto Tamburini shone. He and his team Motoxracing also work closely with the experts at BMW Motorrad Motorsport at the race track. On Saturday, the Italian came out on top over his fiercest rival Lorenzo Savadori and secured the pole position on his RR, setting a new lap record for Superstock bikes. The race on Sunday turned into a real thriller, in which up to five riders at the top were fighting for the win.
During the first half of the race, Tamburini was in second place, behind Savadori, who secured the lead after several changes in position on the first lap. BMW rider Tamburini kept piling on the pressure at the front, rode consistently faster lap times than the leader and waited for his chance. However, the chasing pack got increasingly closer and in the second half the duel became a five-way battle for the lead.
The decision came six laps before the finish: Tamburini took the lead amidst the turmoil and overtook the field. The Italian was extremely strong, particularly braking in the corners, and fully exploited the high-performance engine of his RR on the straights. This saw him consistently extend his lead over the remaining laps and cross the finish line more than four seconds ahead of his pursuers. Tamburini's second win and fourth podium position of the season saw him gain ground overall in the battle for the title. With three races to go, in second overall he has reduced his deficit to front-runner Savadori to 25 points.
Last week, Matthieu Lussiana, who previously raced in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup on a motorcycle of another manufacturer, decided to contest this series on a BMW S 1000 RR, as he does in the Moto 1000 GP in Brazil. While preparing the bike, he and his Team ASPI received support from the experts at BMW Motorrad Motorsport. Lussiana ended the race in Portimão in 19th. Federico D’Annunzio crossed the line in 20th on the RR of FDA Racing. The fourth BMW Motorrad privateer in the field, Eric Vionnet (Motos Vionnet), finished in 28th.