Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team concluded Fridays wet free practice in hope of some better weather for today qualifying and race 1. Despite the hope, the rain continued and this mornings qualifying session was again another wet session. Tom Sykes was in the hunt for another front row start, however with a wrong tyre choice made he ended the session in P6. Markus Reiterberger struggled to get to grips with the set-up of his BMW S 1000 RR and couldn’t get himself into a good position for the race – final position P18.
As Race 1 approached the weather cleared up which meant we were racing on full slick tyres, all be it in damp and greasy track conditions. Sykes got his BMW S 1000 RR of the line well and gained 3 positions tipping into T2. Tom’s aggression on the opening laps were clear as he muscled his way through to take the lead on lap 2, now trading paint with series leader Jonathan Rea.
Despite his efforts he would be pushed back 4 places with Yamaha’s Michael Van Der Mark pulling away from the pack before crashing with just 2 laps to go – promoting Tom into P4. Sykes now had Loris Baz in his sights for P3 and after impressively conserving his tyres throughout the race he could taste the champagne, Tom passed Loris on the penultimate lap claiming another podium for the Team.
Markus Reiterberger really struggled with his bike in qualifying and unfortunately this followed him into the race. Markus started the race in P18 and with multiple riders crashed he gained 2 positions to P16 – narrowly missing out to a point despite the Bavarian’s effort.
Shaun Muir – Team Principal
“Tom was disappointed with superpole. We were happy with the result; Tom was focused on the front row but unfortunately the tyre chosen was not best suited to the conditions, nevertheless we were pleased with P6. Markus really struggled with the bike and felt as though he was riding on ice which reflected in his time. Unfortunately this continued into the race and he was too far back to really make an impact.
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. We have gained a lot of information ahead of tomorrow and taken a great step forward in the development of the BMW S 1000 RR which is a credit to the whole of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team.”
Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“Tom’s third place is 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. We were not able to take full advantage of our qualifying performance on wet tyres, as we did not select the ideal tyre type in the unsettled conditions. We had targeted the front row of the grid, but Tom at least managed to limit the damage with sixth place.
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.
That is very pleasing and confirms that our updates are performance-enhancing. 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 the race which made his performances look worse.”
Tom Sykes (GBR)
“It was an eventful race 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. The chassis and the tyre really stayed consistent throughout the race.
Certainly we need to find a little bit in some areas but overall a podium with just the two Kawasaki’s in front is really promising here given that we are only ten months into the programme. I am really, really happy with our efforts and hopefully we can keep this pace for tomorrow.”
Markus Reiterberger (GER)
“Unfortunately, I had issues with the electronics in practice this morning. As a result, I was only able to complete four or five laps when the track conditions were a bit drier. However, that was still good enough for 13th place. It then poured down again in the Superpole. As I spent more time than anyone on the track in these conditions yesterday, I did hope that this might play into my hands, however, I did not feel at all comfortable on the bike. The rear wheel was like riding on soap and I was unable to get any purchase. It was very difficult to ride. 19th place on the grid is not where I want to be starting from.
Unfortunately, I did not get off to a good start in the race. It was generally very difficult to ride, partly because I had electronics problems again. I really hope that we identify the issue quickly and are soon able to find something that helps me.”