Munich. It’s all go in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. Just one week after the MotorLand Aragón (ESP) races, Tom Sykes (GBR) and Markus Reiterberger (GER) will be in action on their new BMW S 1000 RR Superbikes at Assen in the Netherlands. The fourth round of the 2019 WorldSBK season will be held at the TT Circuit with a rich tradition this weekend (12th to 14th April).
At MotorLand Aragón the team took another major step forward in the development of the brand-new RR. In Saturday’s race and in the Superpole race on Sunday they took their first top-five race finishes. The team is eager to build on this performance at Assen.
Between the race events in Spain and the Netherlands, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers and the two WorldSBK riders Sykes and Reiterberger visited the BMW Group plant in Berlin (GER), where BMW Motorrad number three million – a BMW S 1000 RR – came off the production line on Tuesday, in a year when motorcycle production at the BMW Group plant in Berlin celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Berlin factory has been producing motorcycles and sending them across the world since 1969. This double anniversary was marked with an official ceremony on Tuesday. For Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad, the anniversary is “the result of hard work and a clear course that the company, workforce and policy followed consistently.”
Quotes ahead of the races at Assen.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “I’m very positive about Assen. The track should suit us a bit better, partly because of the layout, and partly because both riders really love the track. Even though the period between the two races is very short, we have another few developments that we want to try out. I hope that the temperatures won’t be sub-zero, but anything above zero degrees won’t be a problem for our motorcycle. We also do relatively well in cold conditions. In any case, I am feeling good.”
“The Berlin visit was great and our collaboration with Berlin is very important. We receive a lot of support from production in many areas – at home in Munich in development, and in Berlin when it comes to providing parts, and last but not least, our engine production takes place in Berlin. It was also nice to experience how the positive energy that we triggered with the WorldSBK project could also be felt in Berlin. You could see how interested the workforce was, and how the employees took the opportunity to meet the riders up close and personal.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “Of all of the very early races in the season Assen is the one I’ve been looking forward to and I think it can be a really good weekend for us. Markus has had very strong results in the past in the European Superstock Championship and Tom obviously won a race there last year, so it’s a good circuit for him. And the biggest point for me is that our RR will be reasonably competitive there. It’s a very technical, twisty circuit, it’s got a lot of flowing corners with only kind of one and a half straights where we will get hurt a little bit. Generally, the mood is that we were taking steps forward at Aragón and Assen should be a positive circuit for us.”
Tom Sykes: “We’re coming off the back of a strong race weekend and obviously for me I need to try and take every opportunity – and for me, Assen is perhaps one of those opportunities. I’m enjoying my racing, I’m certainly enjoying riding the BMW S 1000 RR and during the twisty sectors we’re proving to have a very competitive package. In Assen my only concern is the exit of T4 where you have a kind of first to sixth gear straight. Apart from that, I feel that we will be very competitive. The weather looks to be particularly cold and we had a very strong pace in the cold weather at Aragón, so it would just be nice to go there with great expectations and try to meet those. The rest is out of my hands. We are still developing during race weekends but the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team is doing a great job and we will just continue doing what we are doing.”
“It was a pleasure to be invited to share such a special event for BMW as the one in Berlin. I’m still very new to the BMW family but I feel very welcomed. As a race rider you appreciate this warmth – or I certainly do. It was great to talk to the guys about the handling of the BMW S 1000 RR and how all the electronics are working. We’ve also been using a very basic engine during our racing season so far which is very, very impressive when you race against all the established top teams. I would just like to say a big thanks and show my appreciation to the entire staff in Munich and Berlin for doing an outstanding job.”
Markus Reiterberger: “I know Assen really well. I must have completed a million laps there already. The weather there is always an exciting factor; no doubt it will be the same again this year. I’m expecting to get a lot from this weekend. We saw a positive trend in Aragón; I feel more comfortable on the bike now, I can work with it, and hope that we will take another step in the right direction at Assen. I also hope we will be spared any storms, do a good job and can deliver a good race, and that we will just be able to race without any bad luck.”
“It was great to be at the event in Berlin. It’s always something special. I’ve been to Berlin a few times and I really enjoyed the factory tour again this time – you learn something new every time. It was a special moment when bike number three million rode in and seeing all the employees up close and personal. They were really excited to meet us. Everyone told us that they follow our races, and getting to meet these people personally was a unique opportunity. I’m delighted that we discovered so much support in the factory, and I’d like to express my thanks for that.”