Losail International Circuit
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team headed into the first day of racing here at the Losail International Circuit following a positive opening day of free practice. Tom Sykes went into Superpole with hopes of a top 6 position ahead of Race 1. Sykes looked to have hot pace during qualifying and finished the session in P4 with a lap time of (1’56.714). Markus Reiterberger in his final qualifying session for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team managed to get himself into the top 10 finishing in P9. (1’57.469).
Race 1 soon approached and the BMW duo lined up in their positions ahead of the 17 lap race under floodlights. Sykes looked to make an impressive getaway tipping into T1 in second position, however running wide allowing Alex Lowes, Sandro Cortese and Chaz Davies passed. Unfortunately Toms race would be prematurely ended following a collision with the #91 of Leon Haslam on the second lap at T1. Reiterberger equally got him BMW S 1000 RR off the line well and found himself in P5 heading into T1. Despite Markus’ impressive start a small mistake in T1 would push him back several places into P11. Reiterbergers pace was still fast enough to mount a serious challenge on the top 8, lap by lap he remained consistent and with a little luck from his competitors finished the race in a solid P8.
The team’s attention now turns tomorrow in what will be the final 2 races of the 2019 WorldSBK Championship.
Marc Bongers - BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“We are happy with Markus’ performance, in any case. It was great to see that he was able to fight behind the group in the midfield. In the second half of the race, he was nearly as fast as the front riders in the two middle sectors. That is really pleasing, and one can see a kind of relief on his side of the garage. Tom had a mega start. Unfortunately he had a contact with another rider when entering the second lap and could not stop the bike anymore. That’s a pity but can happen in races. Overall, we have a good base for tomorrow and we will attack once more.”
Tom Sykes (GBR)
“I think we maximised our performance in Superpole and got the best out of our BMW S 1000 RR. We were happy to start on the second row. We then made a couple of changes for the race. We had a good start and unfortunately then going into T1 on the second lap, it happened. I wanted to pull it down but there was another rider, so I had to pick it up and there was another rider there so unfortunately I made contact and down I went. So I am obviously very disappointed. I felt we had the set-up to put on a decent result today. We had the capability to come out with a good result today but sometimes these things happen and obviously we just look to have a strong showing tomorrow.”
Markus Reiterberger (GER)
“Today was really good. I am satisfied, even if I did not fully exploit to 100 per cent what was possible. We made another step for Superpole and I was even able to do a 1:57.7 with race tyres that brought me to sixth place. It was a great lap and my feeling was really good. My lap with the qualifying tyre was also great but not perfect and this already makes the difference between a few positions. But ninth place on the third row still was good. I had a great start, until the first corner. I was already in fifth place but then I shifted down one gear too few and was in third gear. This resulted in the loss of positions but soon I overtook several others and worked my way back towards the front. From then on, I kept my pace to the finish line.
The fact that I was able to close the gap to the group of three in front of me at the very end confirms that we are heading in the right direction. I hope that we will make another step tomorrow, especially with the front tyre. Then I think that I can catch those three that were in front of me, at least that’s my goal. I hope to bring home two more strong results.”