24th February 2019
Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
The final day of the Yamaha Finance Australian Round saw a change in layout to the 2019 MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship. Previously having only a single race on Sunday this had now altered to include a 10 lap Superpole sprint race.
The all new Superpole race would not just provide points to the championship but it would also determine the grid positions for the 22 lap feature race. This meant that from Saturdays qualifying session Tom Sykes would be starting from P4, and Markus Reiterberger from P13.
In the Superpole sprint race both riders got off to a pretty disappointing start losing positions on the opening laps, Sykes despite a few mistakes throughout the race brought home the BMW S 1000 RR in 11th place, (+14.710) behind the race winner Alvaro Bautista.
Reiterberger started from P13 for the Superpole race and managed gain on his position finishing the race in P12 (+2.284) seconds behind his team mate Sykes.
After the Superpole race and a re-shuffle to the starting positions, Yorkshireman Sykes sat on the grid in P10 eagerly anticipating the start to the final race of the day. As he battled it out with fellow competitors such as Camier, Mercado and Laverty the disadvantage of the straight-line speed was evident and was always playing catch up in the corners.
Meanwhile team-mate Reiterberger lap by lap closed the gap on Sykes and managed to pass him on lap 15. The BMW Motorrad pair traded places for the next coming laps but the number #28 of Reiterberger came out on top beating Sykes to P12. – Tom finishing in P13.
With both riders collecting valuable points this weekend the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team will look to continue and develop the BMW S 1000 RR ahead of Round 2 in Thailand in just a few weeks’ time (15-17 March).
Marc Bongers - BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“We have to be satisfied with the first race weekend with our brand new BMW S 1000 RR. We could, however, also see in the ‘Superpole Race’ and in race two that we still can’t recall our true pace.
We still lose on the straight, but at other points of the track we are then directly behind the competition again. If we were alone on the track, we would set top 6 or top 8 times.
But if we are in the race in the crowd, we can’t reproduce these because we are stuck. So the positive thing is that our theoretical pace is already very good. Now we will do everything we can to improve in our deficits on the straight line. But this first race weekend makes me confident for the course of the season.”
Shaun Muir - Team Principal
“We’ve got to be realistic and we have probably reached our goals for the first time we have raced the BMW S 1000 RR. So we are very happy.
We have had no major incidents and I think that we have proved that the bike is going to be competitive very soon. We clearly have our limitations at the moment and we will work hard on sorting them out in the break until the next races.
Both riders rode very well and both have been very patient to understand that we need to work for the development parts to come through. So from my side the overall summary is that we can look forward to a very competitive bike over the course of the season. We just need to be patient and wait for that to arrive.”
Tom Sykes (GBR)
“It has been a challenging day but I have to say that our results do not reflect where we really are. It is just unfortunate that at the moment the bike still has some limitations in the straight line performance but it’s still very early days and on the positive side we have a very good chassis set-up.
During the race we were able to make some good passes but then lost it again on the easy part of the track. We have shown we are capable of running in the top 5 during all tests and practices and when we are riding alone, so we know which area we have to work on the bike.
We have some race mileage under our belt and I know that now the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team will work hard to keep progressing like we did in the winter.”
Markus Reiterberger (GER)
“Today was much better than yesterday. I really enjoyed the race. Even though I missed my goal, the top 10, I could at least see that it was possible. I would have had the necessary pace if I had not started so far back after difficulties in qualifying and if I had done a better start.
In the race itself I had a better feeling from the beginning on and above all more self-confidence. Although the grip level was even worse at today’s high temperatures than yesterday, we did a good job and took another step in the right direction.
I was able to out-brake some opponents and gain a lot in the corners – that’s what our BMW S 1000 RR is really phenomenal in. Unfortunately overtaking is still difficult for us because we lose at the corner exit and on the straight. I take the positives: the top 10 were possible, the feeling is better and the direction is right.
I would like to thank the entire team that works tirelessly to make this progress possible. We are competing in the world championship, that’s not a walk in the park. We are a very young project and the potential is definitely there. Now I can’t wait until we are heading to the next races.”