BMW Motorrad WorldSBK rider Tom Sykes stormed his way to a maiden front row start for the new BMW S 1000 RR in a closely fought Tissot Superpole this morning. Despite running wide in the last corner and losing time, he posted an impressive 1’49.557 landing him in P3 for Race 1.
Markus Reiterberger had an equally impressive outing during Tissot Superpole as he lapped a 1’49.779 to put him on the third row of the grid in P7.
Race 1, and there was drama from the outset. Markus Reiterberger starting from P7 didn’t get a great start and after colliding with Jonathan Rea on the start line, his race was over. Thankfully Reiterberger evaded any injuries and will look to make amends in tomorrow’s sprint race where he will line up again in seventh position.
Tom Sykes however got off to a lightning start slotting in just behind Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista on the opening lap. Despite the good start Sykes dropped down the field and was running in P8 for majority of the race, until a late push promoted him up into P6. Sykes looked set for a solid sixth position finish until a last lap crash from Laverty which meant he inherited P5.
Shaun Muir – Team Principal
“Today has been a great step forward for the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and I think for sure Tom has shown now that we have made a significant step forward. Superpole was really exciting and to be on the front row despite going wide in the final corner was fantastic for Tom and the team.
In the race Markus unfortunately had a racing incident which was a 50:50 incident and was very lucky to escape unharmed. Tom had taken the decision to go with the SC1 rear compound tyre, which is a bit harder. We knew it would be difficult to manage in the beginning of the race but would come stronger at the end of the race. For that reason, I think he fully deserves the fifth position. It was a good step forward for him and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow.”
Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“Of course, we were really pleased with the Superpole in the morning. We had given an indication of our strength in the free practice sessions and this was confirmed when we claimed third and seventh places in qualifying. It was great to be on the front row for the first time this season and Tom made a very good start to the race. He struggled somewhat for a few laps during the early phase but he battled back really well at the end. He enjoyed a bit of luck to finish fifth, but he would have secured sixth place on his own merits.
We are very pleased. It is clear for all to see that everything we do represents a step forward, even it if just a small one. Unfortunately, Markus did not have a good start and contact with another rider caused him to fall. He's a bit battered and bruised but we are hopeful that he will recover overnight. He had already shown good racing pace and I hope that he can repeat that tomorrow.”
Tom Sykes (GBR)
“I think for how early we are in the project, the programme has just started a few months ago, it is really impressive what the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team has achieved so far. We’ve made small changes to the bike, of course now we are playing a bit with the electronics, but I think the biggest difference to the previous rounds is that we have a lot more corners here, I think it’s clear to see that we are consistent in the first sectors and we are only losing out in the last sector.
In Superpole, I was a bit angry with myself going wide on the last corner as it could have been pole position but the target was front row and then top 5 for the race and we have achieved that. On the grid, as the temperatures were quite cool, I opted for the harder rear tyre. It wasn’t too bad but after a few laps I could see that the sun would come out and temperatures rose. But I enjoyed the race. I was battling with some guys who were on the softer tyre but the RR chassis is certainly working really well. I am enjoying riding the BMW S 1000 RR and I’m quite satisfied. It was my decision on the tyre and I just got caught out a bit with the rising temperature. But we definitely got some good information for tomorrow. I’m really excited what’s to come during the season and for now I still think we can make a better race tomorrow.”
Markus Reiterberger (GER)
“The Superpole went well. We were improving all the time in practice and had developed a good feel for the bike. We took another step in the right direction in the Superpole. I didn't do quite so well on race tyres but in qualifying I did improve by a second. We were happy enough with seventh place, especially when you consider that I was just two tenths of a second away from third. We showed that we can compete on a fast lap.
Unfortunately, I got into a bit of a poor position after a bad start to the race and then things happened very fast. Jonathan Rea hit me from the side, which meant that I lost control of the handlebar and took a tumble. It's a shame about the race, as it would have been interesting to see where we could have finished.”