The new BMW M 1000 RR has demonstrated its potential in the FIM Superbike World Championship. The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team claimed its best team result so far at the opening round of the 2021 season at MotorLand Aragón (ESP). Tom Sykes (GBR) and Michael van der Mark (NED) ended race two on Sunday afternoon in fourth and fifth places, just one and a half seconds outside the podium positions. Van der Mark had already impressed with a strong comeback in the morning’s Superpole race.
After enjoying warm and sunny conditions on Friday and Saturday, Sunday started with rain. The circuit was damp in places at the start of the Superpole race, but was also drying out in other places making tyre selection rather tricky. Van der Mark opted for a slick, on which he shot through from 15th on the grid to finish fifth at the end of the ten-lap sprint race. The Dutchman also set the fastest lap of the race on his BMW M 1000 RR. Sykes started from third place on the wet-weather tyre, and was initially running in the top five. However, he then fell back through the field and returned to the garage on lap eight.
Conditions were similarly unsettled at the start of race two in the afternoon. Van der Mark (fifth on the grid) and Sykes (tenth on the grid) both opted for intermediate tyres. Van der Mark was battling with the leading group from the word go, and actually briefly took the lead on lap six. He then spent several laps defending second place against Jonathan Rea (GBR / Kawasaki). With just a few laps remaining, Rea and his team-mate Alex Lowes (GBR) managed to find their way past him. Meanwhile, Sykes was consistently picking his way through the field and ultimately found himself behind van der Mark. The two swapped positions on lap 16 of 18, meaning Sykes finished fourth, ahead of his team-mate in fifth.