Misano. When the chequered flag was waved at Misano (ITA), the joy in the garage of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team knew no bounds. Tom Sykes (GBR) finished runner-up in Saturday’s race to claim the first podium for the new BMW S 1000 RR in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK). Despite racing in treacherous conditions, Sykes kept a cool head and was on course for a podium finish throughout the entire race which was red flagged due to rain. Team-mate Markus Reiterberger (GER) was 15th.
Sykes laid the foundation for his podium result in the morning’s dry Superpole qualifying when he landed his RR on the front row of the grid in third place. However, patience was initially the order of the day in the afternoon. A heavy shower caused the start of the race to be delayed by 25 minutes. Sykes defended third place and held on to the position until inclement weather caused the race to be red flagged. The race eventually restarted after a break of almost half an hour. Sykes once again showed his wet-weather ability, not only keeping the chasing pack at bay, but also opening up a small gap to fourth place. When leader Alex Lowes (GBR / Yamaha) crashed out on lap nine of 18, Sykes adopted second position – and never looked at risk of losing that place.
Reiterberger had finished 12th in Superpole qualifying. However, he fell back through the field in the opening stages of the race. After the interruption, he started the remaining 18 laps from 17th place. While many other riders crashed in the difficult conditions, Reiterberger guided his RR home in 15th place to pick up another world championship point.
Quotes after race one at Misano.
Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad: “Congratulations to Tom Sykes and the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. It is fantastic that our fledgling project has been able to celebrate the first WorldSBK podium for the new BMW S 1000 RR at only the seventh event of the season. This is confirmation of the commitment, passion and hard work that everyone in the team has put into the project since we started out in the winter. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone. Tom gave a fantastic, commanding performance in the rain. And the team gave him a bike, in the RR, that was capable of a podium finish. We can be very proud of what we have achieved today.”
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We have achieved our first goal with the new BMW S 1000 RR in WorldSBK – we made it onto the podium. That is excellent, and the best possible reward for all the hard work the team has tirelessly put in. We set ourselves the goal of improving consistently towards the front of the field. With Tom’s second place today, we have taken the next step. The track conditions were far from easy today, but Tom and the team mastered this challenge superbly. We hope we can back up this success tomorrow. Markus had a difficult race, but tomorrow is a new day and we are confident that the tide will turn again for him.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “We are absolutely delighted for everyone at BMW, for the whole project, for everyone in Germany and in Guisborough at SMR. It’s been a proper joint team effort and to have Dr. Markus Schramm, the Head of BMW Motorrad, here to witness that is absolutely fantastic. We took the gamble and did not go out with Tom this morning in the wet free practice three thinking it would be a dry afternoon, but the clouds opened up and it was wet all the way until the chequered flag came out. It was a very difficult, stressful period with the delayed start and the re-start. But anyway, we had a full 18-lap race and Tom thoroughly enjoyed riding in the wet and more than earned his P2 in the race. We’re absolutely excited. The downside is that Markus really had a difficult race. He got caught within the very back of the pack and there was a lot of spray and he ran off at turn eight. It was a tough day for Markus and he wants to put that behind him. But now we must celebrate the first podium for this new project. I think that is has come ahead of schedule and it’s certainly something that we should be proud of as the team. Hopefully we can build on this and keep the momentum going into tomorrow and into Donington Park.”
Tom Sykes: “To say that I am very happy would be a slight understatement. I am very, very happy and it’s just credit to all the guys in the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. We’ve been working really hard and finally we’ve got the result which I feel we deserve. We’ve been pushing forward and it’s absolutely fantastic. I really enjoyed riding in the wet conditions. The BMW S 1000 RR gave me some great feedback today and what a better place to do that than here at Misano in front of some amazing fans. So we will try and keep that momentum together and try to get the results tomorrow. Thanks to all!”
Markus Reiterberger: “Congratulations to Tom and the team on a superb result and the first podium for BMW. I was a little surprised that it rained this morning. However, I was happy about that, as I was quick in the rain during the test here. I gave it my all in Superpole, but it was only good enough for 12th on the grid. We just need to make a few more adjustments to the bike and my riding style. Unfortunately, the wet race was disappointing. I lost positions in the first part, as my starting position meant I had absolutely no visibility in the spray. I was then able to make up a few places in the second part of the race, but touched the white line during an overtaking manoeuvre, got my braking wrong and had to veer off into the gravel. After that, I just made sure I finished. Fortunately, I picked up a point.”