Donington Park Circuit
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team today secured their first pole position of 2019 despite the rainy conditions at Donington Park. Tom Sykes eager to maintain his ‘Mr Superpole’ status put together an incredible lap during this morning’s Superpole session to take his 49th Superpole, his fastest lap in the drying conditions was a 1’27.619 a full -0.993 faster than Jonathan Rea in P2. Peter Hickman equally put in an incredible Superpole as he placed his BMW S 1000 RR on the second row of the grid with a 1’29.348, narrowly missing out on the front row by -0.150 however taking a credible P4.
The dodgy conditions continued into the afternoon and as the riders took their positions on the grid ahead of Race 1 the heavens opened, eliminating the chance of a flag to flag race. Sykes got off the good start tipping into T1 however it would the reigning World Superbike Champion (Rea) who would take the early lead. Jonathan Rea checked out on the opening laps and managed to gap Sykes and the group by 8 seconds. Sykes found himself in a battle with Leon Haslam and Frenchman Loris Baz throughout the race but Sykes had that extra pace in the latter stages to bring his BMW S1000 RR to a brilliant P2 – Sykes’ second podium of 2019.
Peter Hickman lined up on the grid in fourth place however didn’t get his BMW S 1000 RR off the line as well as he had hoped, slipping back to P8 on the opening lap. Hickman found himself in a three-way battle with Leandro Mercardo and Toprak Razgatlioglu for seventh place but with a mistake from Toprak it left Mercado and Hickman to fight it out. Mercado seemed to find some late pace in the race and with a small mistake from Pete in the final corner it gave Leandro the opportunity the pass him. Hickman rode a sensible race from lap 11 gauging the gap to behind well, he would bring his BMW S 1000 RR to an incredible P7 in his first ever outing on the new bike.
Shaun Muir – Team Principal
“The entire team can be proud today. With Tom, we continued the good work from Misano and it was great to get the maiden pole position for the new RR. Ideally we would have liked a dry race because we felt we had the pace strong enough to be on the podium – if not to win in dry conditions. We’ll see what tomorrow will bring, Tom’s confidence is getting stronger and stronger every race so we can only expect good things to come tomorrow.
Peter has never raced in these conditions with this bike so to get on and do what he did was fantastic. He used his head very sensibly there. He took a brave decision in qualifying to go out on slicks at the very end with not many doing that, so to secure fourth on the grid was fantastic. Also with P7 in the race, Peter has had a great day.”
Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“It was a super Saturday at Donington Park. As early as Friday, there were signs that Tom would have a say in the battle at the front of the field. In Superpole, he gave an awesome display and the team chose a very good strategy to secure the first pole position for our new BMW S 1000 RR – and to improve his own record. In the race, he was equally impressive in taking second place. Congratulations to him on that performance. Peter also had a good Saturday. He jumped in at short notice and, even if you know the bike and the circuit, you have to earn fourth place on the grid in such a strong field. He showed his experience in the race and finished a good seventh. We have confirmed that we are moving in the right direction with our fledgling project. We are now really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Tom Sykes (GBR)
“I am really happy. The speed has been there all weekend certainly in dry conditions and it was just fantastic to claim pole position this morning. For the wet race 1 we had some limitations but it’s great to bring it home in second position. It’s still really quite incredible where we are as it is so early in the programme so huge credit to the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, what they are doing is outstanding. I’m really happy to now have two podiums on two consecutive weekends. It would be nice for all guys in the garage if we could keep this momentum. As I said, we had some limitations today in the wet and we will try to improve that in the dry conditions tomorrow.”
Peter Hickman (GBR)
“I’m happy enough. The race was the first time for me to ride the bike in fully wet conditions so it has been a little bit of an unknown for me. It was also different for me to get used to the electronics again. I’m happy that I came away with a good and solid top ten result. The start wasn’t the best; we had a little problem at the start which put us back but I feel if I could have gone way with the front group I maybe could have gone with them a little bit. But we’ve made some improvements, we’ve got some good data and if it rains tomorrow I’m sure we can have a good race again.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s sprint race, I normally don’t do sprint races so it’s something new for me again. Obviously we will start from fourth again after today’s Superpole, which is really strong. If we get a good start and get away in that front pack, fingers crossed, we can get a strong result.”