BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team claims its best team result so far in WorldSBK with the new BMW M 1000 RR. #ARAGONWORLDSBK

23.05.21
MotorLand Aragón

 

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.

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SHAUN MUIR

TEAM PRINCIPAL

“A great day. Yesterday it was a struggle in areas, so I was happy with how we finished the race. Today, I was struggling to see if we could improve on that, but this morning Michael went out in the morning’s warm-up in the rain and was immediately fast considering this was his first ever outing in the wet conditions on the BMW M 1000 RR. In the Superpole race, Michael had a really good run, so to see him come away with fifth was pleasing as he is learning every day when he gets on the bike. Tom had an issue with the rear tyre in the Superpole race so we had to retire but nevertheless we started in P5 and P10 in race two. That race was really exciting, to be battling for the lead and never out of the top-three, top-four places for most of the race was great to see. Both BMWs were in the spotlight and it’s testament to the whole of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team who have brought this bike through. Heading into Estoril we can be confident we can be threat for the rest of the season.”

 

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MARC BONGERS

BMW MOTORRAD MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR

“We are very happy. We invested so much work in this project in the winter, and it was very difficult at the tests to establish exactly how we really compared to the others. We got off to a difficult start this weekend, so it is great to be able to turn that around in this way. Sure they were extraordinary conditions, but it was very pleasing to see that we were able to challenge the Kawasaki’s, which are setting the benchmark, for the full race. There were obviously times in the race when we would have liked to have finished on the podium, but it is excellent that we were able to demonstrate with two or even three bikes that we have the potential to do that. It is a strong result, on which we can build. We are super happy. The work has paid off, but we will not stop here – we will continue to work hard.”

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TOM SYKES

“A bittersweet day, really. We definitely had a Superpole race to forget which we won’t go into too much detail about. That meant that we compromised our start position in race two. For race two, I wanted to go with the slick tyre but after this morning we opted to play it safe on the intermediates. Overall, after a good start, it was a bit of a waiting game. I could see what the guys in front of me were doing but obviously considering the tyres we were on I tried a different strategy to feel where the BMW M 1000 RR was working and where we had to improve. Unfortunately, we just missed out on the podium today, but considering our results here last year it is a huge improvement.”

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MICHAEL VAN DER MARK

“This morning, we had a wet warm-up session which was my first time on the BMW M 1000 RR in the rain, and to be honest I had such a good feeling from the first lap. The Superpole race was in mixed conditions but I opted to go with the slick tyre and in the end was the right choice. It did however keep raining at times during the race which slowed me down in places but anyway it was a good result for us. This afternoon’s race two again was a gamble on tyre choice, and I knew I made the wrong choice going up to the start as the track was drying so quickly. Despite that we made a good start, had some incredible battles taking the lead but I knew I was asking too much of the tyres and in the end some guys got past me. But we have got to be happy with the two P5 positions and most importantly the experience I’ve gained with the BMW M 1000 RR.”

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