15th March 2019
Chang International Circuit
BMW Motorrad WorldSBK’s Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger were keen to get down to business today during the first two free practice sessions of the Pirelli Thai Round at Buriram. With temperatures climbing to highs of 40 degrees centigrade they continued to develop and set-up their BMW S 1000 RR machines despite the difficult conditions.
Tom Sykes was quick off the mark during FP1 and lapped a 1'34.029 putting him in a solid fifth position, +0.940 behind the championship front runner Alvaro Bautista. Team mate Markus Reiterberger respectively lapped a 1’34.993 on his RR’ slotting him into thirteenth, +1.844 behind the leader in the opening session of on the day.
The afternoons session didn’t quite go to plan for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team as both riders failed to challenge the top 8 positions, however collected valuable data in both outings.
Sykes looked to change a few things throughout the day and in particular adjusted the ride height and also made different some changes to the gearing as he ended FP2 in tenth position with a 1'34.022, -0.004 quicker than his time set in FP1.
Markus similarly went faster during his second session finishing just outside of the top ten in P12 after also making adjustments to his ride height and some minor front spring changes. A 1’34.327 was his best time of the day which left him in P12 overall in combines sessions.
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK can take lots of positives going into tomorrow as they look to mount a challenge on the top 8 racers ahead of Tissot Superpole and the opening race of the weekend.
Shaun Muir – Team Principal
"FP1 was really good for us today. Tom and Markus both found a good direction, so everything went positive. We had three exits for each rider and all took steps forward so that was promising.
In FP2 we had more test items. While we were pretty happy after FP1 we did not make quite the progress we had hoped for in FP2. We went in a different direction with Tom which unfortunately was the wrong way so had to come back, FP3 tomorrow we will hopefully go in a better direction.
Markus had some gremlins that cost a bit of time but overall we can’t be too disappointed. We did not use any additional tyres in FP2 so the times that we put in were pretty much on 15 to 20 lap tyres, so overall I am quite happy with that.
Regarding our expectations for Superpole, I think the group from third down to tenth is quite tight and is achievable, so to have a top six for Tom and a top nine for Markus would be a realistic target."
Tom Sykes (GBR)
"This morning I was pretty happy with our speed over the distance. In the afternoon we focused on exploring where we can go and what we can do, so we tried a couple of things and we got a good direction for tomorrow in order to try to be even more competitive.
Everyone could see that in the first and second sector with the big straight is our biggest limitation, but tomorrow is another day and we will focus on where the bike is strong.
BMW are working hard and we must not forget that the first day for the bike on track was the 18th of December, so to be consistently in the top five of a world championship is pretty impressive in my opinion. It is a project with work in progress and apart from the issue we have on the straight, everything else is working quite well so given a bit more time I am convinced that this project will become even stronger."
Markus Reiterberger (GER)
"The first day was productive. We did not quite achieve our goal to get into the top ten but I am very satisfied with the day. We learned a lot that will be important in the long-term. We started with the Phillip Island setting and adapted to the characteristics of the track here. In general, Buriram is completely different to Phillip Island as here we have much more braking zones and the layout is less fluent.
In the second session when the temperatures were even higher, we made a big step with the chassis set-up and tried a harder front tyre. We just went through our test programme, also in regards to make maximum use of the engine on the long straights. We will work on getting the best package tomorrow and to further improve. "