22nd February 2019
Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
The opening day of action at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit was a positive and promising one for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, with weather and track temperatures close to perfect. A hot start to proceedings saw tight lap times in FP1 where Sykes finished in P4 with a (1’30.664) and Reiterberger respectively in P6 with a (1'30.862), reining WSBK champion Rea topped the morning session with a 1’30.341.
In the afternoon’s FP2 session the track temperature increased to 42c, and the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team riders used their time to make adjustments, especially in the areas of rear suspension and tyre life. Tom Sykes despite showing good pace in FP1 couldn’t match his lap time in FP2 and ended the session in P10 (1’31.335). Markus Reiterberger similarly set failed to improve from the morning session and placed the S 1000 RR in P15 (1'31.594).
With the sessions combined at the end of the day this meant that Tom Sykes finished in P4 and Markus Reiterberger in P8, impressively putting both riders into the top 8 for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team.
Shaun Muir – Team Principal
"Today we’ve ran some good race simulations, it’s given us an idea on what we can do with the race tyre, and what we need to do to maintain it which I think will be vital for our overall race position. Tom has good confidence in his rear tyre which is good, Markus hasn’t quite got the same feeling yet so we need to see where he is at in the morning.
Qualifying is going to be a bit of a lottery as Tom nor Markus have had a Q tyre in the bike yet, but for sure on the race tyre I think we can have both riders in the top 10 come the race."
Markus Reiterberger (GER)
"Today’s first session was positive, I felt really comfortable on the bike and we were able to set some good times. Towards the end of the day we struggled with rear grip so I was not able to set the same times as the morning.
Throughout the day we tried lots of different things including lean angles and different lines to try help the bike, tomorrow I hope to make another step forward with the bike settings.
Tomorrow we will be working on the tyre life and how to maintain the tyre during the race, this is something we need to work on going forward as the tyre life will be important during the race."
Tom Sykes (GBR)
"I’m relatively happy with today, all the time we have been building and ultimately we’ve gained a lot of information from today’s Free Practice. We need to look at a few areas where we can improve. Unfortunately, I think now everyone has seen how much we are giving away down the straights which as a rider at this level is hard to take back in the corners, but I really feel we are doing as much as we can with chassis, so in time the rest will come naturally.
We have to be realistic and I’m keeping my eye on the targets we set before we came to Philip Island, that being said we’ve had a very good Phillip island so far considering this isn’t one of my strongest circuits, so we will try to keep working in the right direction and see where we end up during the race."