Laguna Seca. The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team enjoyed more strong results with the new BMW S 1000 RR on Saturday at Laguna Seca (USA). Tom Sykes (GBR) secured fourth place on the grid in Superpole qualifying, and went on to finish fourth in the opening race. Markus Reiterberger (GER) qualified eleventh in Superpole and came home 15th in the race. Laguna Seca hosts round nine of the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK).
In the closing minutes of Superpole, Sykes was able to take advantage of the faster qualifying tyres to secure fourth place and a spot on the second row of the grid. Shortly after the start of the race, the Brit briefly sprinted into second place on his RR, however then dropped back to fifth in the turmoil of the first few corners. When Alvaro Bautista (ESP / Ducati) crashed in front of him, Sykes moved back into fourth place and never looked back. Reiterberger, back in the team after a severe viral infection and making his first appearance at Laguna Seca, improved consistently. He ended Superpole in eleventh place, before picking up one point for 15th place in the race.
Quotes after race one at Laguna Seca.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We are pleased with the solid fourth place. Finding the right set-up for the bike was far more difficult here than at recent events. However, the result is once again very satisfying. Markus improved consistently as he learned more about this complex circuit throughout the sessions leading up to qualifying. In the race, however, he had difficulties. We must now analyse how we can help him in tomorrow’s race.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “We went into Superpole with some unknowns what the best setting would be. Anyway, Tom did a great job. He put the qualifying tyre in and managed to secure P4 on the grid which was fantastic. It was on his second lap which is quite unusual; we did not expect to get two laps out of the tyre. On Markus’s side we made some over night changes. He made a big progress and a good job in the Superpole. In the race, Tom got a great start, he could have cut across the two Ducatis into turn two but it could have been a bit of a risky move. Anyway he played it safe which was wise. He consolidated the race after Alvaro went out and got a good fourth position. I think it just epitomises the kind of approach from Tom. We’re making progress; we don’t want to put it in the gravel trap but be able to gather valuable data. Markus’s race was very difficult. He struggled, he ran off the track. We have to work hard to find a good setting for him to go into Superpole race tomorrow and we see where we go from there.”
Tom Sykes: “We gambled for today’s race one by going with the ‘X’ tyre and you could say it paid off considering we got a fourth place. On the other side of that the tyre did drop off pretty early which meant we had to manage the tyre from midway through the race so you could argue that with a harder tyre we perhaps could have gone faster. However, with that being said a P4 on paper is not bad at all considering how early we are into this project. I was trying my best to close the gap to Toprak and at one stage I was doing that but I was just riding on the limit especially with the front tyre. But like I said I am happy with fourth place, the team did a great job in getting the electronics and traction control right today so let’s see if we can build on this heading into tomorrow’s two races.”
Markus Reiterberger: “We improved a lot today compared to yesterday. Yesterday was all about getting to know the circuit and finding the set-up for the bike. Today, I was far quicker in the third practice session and Superpole. We improved consistently and I was able to secure a place on the fourth row of the grid which was not too bad. Unfortunately, we possibly opted for the wrong tyre in the race and changed the settings a little, which did not have the desired effect. I had more issues again and also had a little run-off after a front-wheel slide. That is why I only finished 15th. I am still struggling to ride tight lines and we will do our best to find a solution here. I’d like to thank the team for all their hard work.”