Chang International Circuit
Saturday mornings FP3 session at the Chang International Circuit provided a good warm up for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team, as they prepared for the second Tissot Superpole of the season.
Sykes eager to improve on his seventh position in FP3 was able to do just that lapping a 1’32.909, putting him on the second row of the grid in sixth place.
Markus Reiterberger equally eager to improve on FP3 looked set for a top 10 finish, however narrowly missing out by +0.014 behind Michael Van Der Mark put him on the fourth row of the grid in P11 ahead of race 1.
Race 1 soon approached us and from the word go, Sykes looked up for the battle heading into T1 alongside Lowes and Haslam for P4. Throughout the opening laps Tom managed to match the pace of the front runners challenging the last podium places, however with the evident speed disadvantage down the long straights it would immediately begin to relegate him down the field. Despite the impressive start to the race Tom would eventually bring his BMW S 1000 RR in ninth, +28.789 behind the championship leader Alvaro Bautista.
Markus Reiterberger lined up on the grid respectively in P11, ready to mount the challenge for a top ten finish. Initially the German got off to a difficult start going into T1 and was pushed back a few places demoting him into P16. A crash from Eugene Laverty and Chaz Davies on laps 3 and 7 would push him up the field, Markus didn’t have much to deal with from lap 10 and he brought it home in a final position of P14 – collecting two valuable points.
The teams focus now turns to tomorrow’s two races in what they hope can be yet another day of promising development for the new S 1000 RR.
Shaun Muir – Team Principal
“Tom had a real good Superpole in the end, he started quite slowly at first not quite getting into a rhythm but when the Q tyre came out he really pulled it out the bag, qualifying in a strong sixth position.
Markus didn’t quite get the best from his qualifying tyre which was a shame, nevertheless he safely rode through onto a reasonable position on the grid.
In the race, we knew where we would end up roughly within the field. The target was a top ten position and I think with the deficit in a straight-line Tom did really well to achieve that.
Markus dropped back in the turmoil of the first corner after the start. He had a few difficult opening laps, lost the tow, ran wide a couple of time when struggling on braking and just had a bit of a lonely result in the end. Despite that we know what his issues are and we can rectify them overnight.
All in all, I’m very happy with the progress. Four race starts, four race finishes, no major problems and lots of data gained, and the guys are working very hard together.”
Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“The results of the first race are in line with our expectations. We were able to positively confirm our updates and could also sort out other topics. Now we are looking forward to tomorrow’s Superpole race. However, given the current top speed deficit, it would still be unrealistic to expect that we can confirm our grid positions in the races.”
Tom Sykes (GBR)
“I think everyone saw today the potential of the BMW S 1000 RR. In the corners and in the braking areas, I think our potential is very high. It’s just a bit unfortunate that we are missing out on straight-line speed and losing positions on the straight.
I was very happy with the performance in the corners, the corner speed and the general turning of the bike. Again: the first time I rode this bike was on 18th December. It is very early stage of the programme. I have a lot of experience and to just put things into perspective I think that we are doing a very, very good job.
For now, we have a limitation on speed performance but in the areas of chassis, suspension and electronics everybody has done great job already and honestly the handling of the bike is impressive.
Considering the nature of the track and to do these lap times was promising for me, considering what we are losing in the first two sectors. When I had battles on the track today I was actually surprised how strong we were in some areas. So we keep working!”
Markus Reiterberger (GER)
“We’ve made a change from yesterday to today which we benefited from in the third free practice as I was able to ride fast and consistent lap times.
For Superpole made another small adjustment which gave me even more confidence. I had a good start in the race, but then I was a bit unlucky in the first corner and on the back straight and unfortunately I lost some positions.
In the turmoil I could not ride my own rhythm. In addition, it seems that I could not quite brake as I would like to. Then I made a mistake and went wide but I was able to bring home the two points, even if of course our expectations are higher.
But I honestly did not have an ideal feeling for the bike during the race. We will now continue to work on further getting to know and improving the whole package.”