Mandalika International Street Circuit
Strong performance at the finale in Indonesia: the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and Michael van der Mark (NED) have rounded off the 2021 season in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) with a podium finish. The Dutchman rode his BMW M 1000 RR to third place in a rainy second race on Sunday. In the first race, van der Mark had finished sixth in largely dry conditions. Tom Sykes (GBR) completed the two races on the Mandalika International Street Circuit in tenth and fifth positions. Heavy rainfall caused severe schedule delays at the season finale.
In the Superpole on Saturday morning, Sykes secured sixth spot on the grid with van der Mark in ninth place on the third row. Extremely heavy rainfall started just before the scheduled start of the first race on Saturday afternoon and the conditions made it impossible for any racing to take place on Saturday. The schedule was changed to include two long races on Sunday.
The start of race one on Sunday morning was delayed by 15 minutes due to a rain shower. However, the riders were able to start on dry tyres. Van der Mark fell back a little at the start but worked his way forward to reach fifth place at the halfway point of the race. He then dropped down one place in the closing phase, crossing the line in sixth position. Sykes made a good start to move into fourth place and was briefly in third. From lap two onwards, he maintained his position in fifth before falling back in the second half of the race to cross the finish line in tenth position.
As had happened on the previous day, the rain arrived just as the second race was about to begin on Sunday afternoon. The start was delayed by more than one and a half hours and the race was shortened to twelve laps. Van der Mark immediately moved up into the top 5 and was involved in a thrilling duel for third place on the wet circuit with new world champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR / Yamaha). Van der Mark prevailed in this battle, claiming another podium finish to round off the season. It was a strong end to a weekend during which van der Mark had struggled with gastrointestinal problems. Sykes fell back a little at the start but was back in fifth place after a few laps. He crossed the finish line in this position.
The races in Mandalika were the last in which Sykes and BMW Motorrad Motorsport competed together, marking the end of three years of working together. From 2019 to 2021, Sykes competed in 90 races for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, claiming six podium finishes and three pole positions.
“After having the pleasure to experience such successes together in the past years, I would like to thank Tom on behalf of BMW Motorrad”, said Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad. “I remember when we announced our reborn World Superbike project together at EICMA 2018 and started a great journey. Beginning with the S and implementing the M RR, we are very thankful for his contribution to the development of the bike. Podiums and several pole positions have underpinned his effort.”