Autódromo Internacional do Algarve
Saturdays qualifying session got the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Teams’ day of to a brilliant start as Tom Sykes impressively put his BMW S 1000 RR onto the front row of the grid in P2. Sykes almost looked set for his second pole of the year, however series leader Jonathan Rea went faster in the dying moments of the session pipping him to pole. Markus Reiterberger equally had a solid Superpole and was flirting with the top 6 for majority of the session, but with the other riders going out on the qualifying tyre he would be bumped down to ninth ahead of race 1.
Race 1 soon came upon us and as expected, also the heat. Sykes initially made a good start and looked to have made a small gap to Chaz Davies in third, but with the speed of the Ducati found it difficult to keep him behind. Sykes a few laps later then made a small mistake which allowed 2 riders passed, pushing him back further. Unfortunately, Tom’s race would take a U turn following a crash on lap 5 – Sykes managed to finish the race in P13.
Reiterberger equally had a good get away as he tipped into T1 in twelfth. Markus ran a pretty lonely race from then on out as he finished his race in his original start position P12, picking up some more valuable points.
Shaun Muir - Team Principal
“Both riders did very well in Superpole. Tom obviously made a great lap with his qualifier and getting his second position was fantastic. Markus held on to the third row of the grid in ninth which again was a solid performance from him. The race was difficult. Tom got away well, he was in a real strong group and was faster on some parts of the circuit whilst slower in other. The places where he was struggling on speed was where the passing places were at the end of the start-finish straight. He suffered badly for that and he was overriding and because of that, lost the front. But he took the good decision to get back on the bike and finish the race to collect some data. He scored more points but most important we got good data for tomorrow.
Markus’ start was not so bad but he got sucked in and dropped two places into the first corner. From that position it was a lonely race for him and as the race tyre disintegrates as the laps go on he got slower and this unfortunately was the position he finished. But we will analyse today’s data, work hard, prepare for tomorrow and hopefully secure places in the two front rows in the Superpole Race.”
Tom Sykes - (GBR)
Overall, it’s a shame because we found a good set-up for our BMW S 1000 RR and have been really consistent throughout practice and also in Superpole. We had a very strong result and just missed pole position by only one tenth, so this was good.
Unfortunately, during the race our set-up was really good to ride when I’m on my own, but when I was with the other guys the style of riding had to change a bit. Despite the good set-up we still missed a little bit of straight-line performance. On our own we are not too bad but unfortunately I got caught out riding with the guys and just this slight change in style caused me losing the front when I released the brake. I was a little bit disappointed but it was a big lesson learned. Now we will work on that and change the set-up for tomorrow to attack again.”
Markus Reiterberger - (GER)
“Superpole was really great. With the SC-X tyres I managed to get into the top 5 for a while before ending up in seventh before everyone had put on their qualifying tyres. I was then able to record a fast second lap after the first one with the qualifying tyres. That was a perfect lap. I had expected to be on the second row but it was ninth place in the end. I was just two and a half tenths of a second off fourth place. The start went well enough but I hit the first two gears too early and that meant that the other riders were able to out-accelerate me. Then I rode my race and struggled a bit with the problems that are still holding us back somewhat. I finished twelfth, which was just shy of my aim of a top ten position, but we will see if we can find something to help me do a bit better tomorrow.”