Phillip Island. The countdown is on for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: This weekend (28th February to 1st March) sees the team start its second season in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) on Phillip Island (AUS). The two BMW S 1000 RR will be ridden by Tom Sykes (GBR) and his new team-mate Eugene Laverty (IRL) this year. After an intense winter, Team Principal Shaun Muir’s (GBR) crew are now ready for the first WorldSBK 2020 races.
On the Monday and Tuesday before the start of the season the team took part in a two-day test on Phillip Island. The objective was to evaluate new components and fine-tune Sykes and Laverty’s RRs. The opening weekend of the WorldSBK 2020 gets underway on Friday with the first two free practice sessions. Then, after another free practice session on Saturday, it’s the Superpole; the first race will be held in the afternoon. Sunday’s schedule starts with the warm-up, followed by the Superpole race and race two.
Ahead of the first race weekend of the season, the modified BMW S 1000 RR for the WorldSBK 2020 will be presented at a media BBQ in the paddock on Thursday. BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers, Team Principal Shaun Muir and the two riders Sykes and Laverty will be on hand to answer any questions.
Quotes ahead of the season opener on Phillip Island.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “In general, we are well prepared for the season opener. After the tests in Jerez and Portimão we had some open points that we were able to continue and to confirm here in good conditions. Now we have to make our choice for the race weekend. Tom’s pace is strong and we now have to try to keep it over the race distance. With Eugene, we have identified a few things we will work on for the weekend to also further improve his pace. Our goal for the opening round is: we want to start from the front row and I think that we have the chance to get onto the podium.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “We’ve had two good days of testing here in Australia. On Eugene’s side, we’ve had a lot of information to work through and we had satisfying results, mostly with the electronics and his feel for the delivery of the power. That has been his focus area and while we are happy so far we will take some of this work into Friday. On Tom’s side we’ve had a huge list of items for him to test over the two days. We are pretty happy with where we are. We’ve not managed to do much race simulation due to the extensive test items, so that will be Fridays focus. We know we can qualify very well and aim to be on the front row in qualifying. But it’s not about qualifying, it’s about the race and we know that to be in contention for a podium position, we need to do consistent fast lap times in the latter parts of race. To do so and to be on the podium is definitely the goal for the season opener.”
Tom Sykes: “I’m very happy with the way things have gone. We had very successful winter tests, didn’t get too carried away with the lap times and really focused on the set-up of the BMW S 1000 RR. We really got through a strong test programme and when we came here to Phillip Island, it has paid off. As soon as I rolled out, the bike felt very good and we were able to work on the little parameters that we had in store before the race weekend. Overall, I’m happy with the outcome. We have a lot of information that we will study over next days and we will try to come back strong for the race weekend with a good base set-up. Regarding my goals for the season opener: obviously everybody is here trying to win races. I just want to be more consistent throughout the season but we always have to aim for the podium, always have to try to make that podium into a race win and obviously here it is not different.”
Eugene Laverty: “I’m a typical rider, I always want more time, an extra day to be ready but it has been a good couple of test days. We’ve worked a lot towards race preparation because you have concentrate on 20 laps not just on one lap and that has been our focus. We still have some work to do to do that fast lap time as for example Tom has been able to do but I’m confident that we will get there. We need to be fighting up there for the podium because this bike’s capable of it at this track. We’re feeling prepared. We need some more dry time on Friday to find our one lap pace but I’m confident that for the long distance, we will be there.”