Tom Sykes ties up final European pre-season preparations with the BMW S 1000 RR in Portugal.
Autódromo Internacional do Algarve
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team has continued its preparations for the 2020 season of the FIM Superbike World Championship with a double test. Last week, the team and its riders Tom Sykes (GBR) and Eugene Laverty (IRL) spent two days testing in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. This was followed on Sunday and Monday by a further two days of testing in Portimão (POR).
Both riders had two bikes at their disposal. This allowed Sykes, Laverty and their respective crews to evaluate more new components and many different set-up configurations, in order to establish the best possible basis set-up in time for the start of the season. While it rained repeatedly on both days in Spain, conditions were dry and sunny at times in Portugal. Sykes finished the test in Portugal with a fastest lap of (1’41.786). Laverty was closely behind with a (1’41.990)
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team heads to Philip Island (AUS) for a further two days of testing on 24th and 25th February, before the new season of WorldSBK gets underway at the same venue from 28th February to 1st March.
Shaun Muir – Team Principal
“There were productive days in Spain and Portugal with a very successful finish at Portimão. Good weather greeted us here and that also allowed us to go through the items we could not do in Jerez due to rain. We’ve made big steps with the electronics with both riders benefiting from it. Eugene overall gained a lot of confidence going to Australia, Tom tried some settings he was not used to evaluate them and to find an even better direction for him.
Both riders and the team took the decision not to put any special development or qualifying tyres on, so the times that we have got have been on the normal race tyre. Overall, both riders are satisfied with the work we have conducted, we gathered a lot of valuable data and have a good base to move into Australia. So it was a positive test and we can’t wait to go to Australia.”
Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“On the whole, we are happy with both tests, as we were able to work through an extensive programme with both riders. We travelled with some new parts for the RR including new wheels. We also made more steps forward in terms of electronic strategies and their detailed set-up both in Jerez and Portimão. Over the course of the four days, we were able to sort out some important issues on both sides of the garage, and to gain a lot of information and data. We now have an even clearer idea of what direction we need to head in on Phillip Island. We also have reinforced the team in the form of new members, and the double test was the perfect way to fully integrate them in our team. We will now continue to work hard, to ensure we are as well prepared as possible when we travel to Australia.”
Tom Sykes (GBR)
“I’m very happy with the two tests. Jerez obviously was very challenging on the weather front but we were able to utilise that and do some little fundamental things. It then was much more consistent here in Portugal and we were just able to do a lot of work with our BMW S 1000 RR. We just had to turn a bit of a blind eye to what was going on on track and focus on what we are doing. We worked really hard on different chassis set-ups, on the brakes, electronic strategies… and the list goes on. A big credit to the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, the boys have worked really hard over these days. Now it’s time to go back home and get everything ready for Phillip Island and where we can focus more on performance.”
Eugene Laverty (IRL)
“I am really delighted and optimistic coming away from the test. The November test was a bit of a tough one as I got a few surprises when I rode the RR for the first time. The work that the guys have done since is incredible. That’s the nice thing of being involved with a factory team again: the progress is so quick and these guys are so intelligent. I give my comments but in the end my comments are only backing up what they already know. These guys understand very well how to make the bike work. The focus in Spain had been power delivery and traction control and when we arrived at Portimão, we started to play around with the chassis setting. The performance in the end was really good. So after these tests, I’m very happy, we’re in a good position.”