Misano. Having achieved the first podium finish for the new BMW S 1000 RR in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) on Saturday at Misano (ITA), the next podium was within reach for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team on Sunday. Tom Sykes (GBR) was running third in the Superpole race until he was forced to retire shortly before the finish. In the afternoon’s second race, the Englishman finished sixth to claim another top-six result. Markus Reiterberger (GER) came home 13th and eleventh on Sunday.
Sykes started the morning’s Superpole sprint from third place on the grid. He initially dropped back in the battle at the front of the field, however regained third place when two riders crashed in front of him. He went into the final lap with the next podium in sight, but was then forced to retire shortly before the finish when his engine suffered a mechanical issue. After ten laps of racing, Reiterberger crossed the finish line in 13th place.
The results of the Superpole race meant that Sykes started the afternoon’s second race from eleventh place, ahead of Reiterberger in 14th. By the end of the second lap of the main race, the two RR riders had both made progress through the field. Sykes was eighth, while Reiterberger lay 12th. In the closing stages, Sykes rejoined the group battling for the third spot on the podium. He ultimately came home sixth, just 1.8 seconds outside the top three. Reiterberger also had a flawless ride to finish eleventh.
Quotes after race two at Misano.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “On the whole, we can be very happy with the Misano weekend. It is obviously a shame that we were denied our next podium by a mechanical issue this morning. However, you must not forget that this kind of thing can always happen with a fledgling project like ours. We will analyse what the cause was. That is part of the learning process. The podium in Saturday’s race was the next important step with our new BMW S 1000 RR. The sprint and main race on Sunday allowed us to demonstrate the progress we have made with the development of the RR. The performance was spot on. If Tom had started from further up the grid in the afternoon, he could have challenged for a spot on the podium again. In the end, he missed out by under two seconds. However, his sixth place was another good result. The hard work also paid off for Markus and his crew. They took a step forward and this is the direction to go now. We now must continue this positive trend at Donington Park.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “We are really gutted for Tom. He has put all his effort in and got very little reward for it in the sprint race when, with half a lap to go, he had a mechanical DNF when he could have been on the podium. That would also have meant third on the grid for the main race but he had to go from P11 on the grid and we all know that it’s difficult to pass the Ducatis in a straight line. He came within 1.8 seconds of the podium from 11th on the grid and I think that shows the talent and effort that he put in there. So, we apologise to Tom for not giving him the tools today. However, I think we can all see that there has been real progress and he is going to come back strong for sure at Donington. Markus, on the other hand, is still struggling to find his real form and we’re not yet where we want to be. We will look at all the data, sit down, discuss the set-up for Donington and hopefully cooler track temperatures will be very good towards our tyre wear and he and Tom can come back and do a good job at our home round.”
Tom Sykes: “It was a little bit unfortunate. I really honestly feel that we had three podiums in reach. We were third in the sprint race until the last lap. We had an issue which allowed Leon Haslam to come close and then unfortunately we retired. That, was also unfortunate, meaning that I started the last big race from the fourth row which cost me some time in the first few laps. The whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team did a great job. We ran with our spare bike with a few performance compromises and we still had great pace. I feel if we had started from the front row we could have gone away, kept our rhythm and I definitely feel that this would have allowed another podium position. So a little bit of a shame but on the plus side we’ve had a podium, we finished second this weekend with the all-new BMW S 1000 RR, we are showing its potential. Even in this last race we had very good consistency. We will build on this.”
Markus Reiterberger: “Today was better than yesterday, although my start was not so good in the Superpole race and a mistake cost me valuable time. The result was that I had to settle for 14th on the grid in race two. However, I made a good start and was able to hold on to 12th and later 11th place for the whole race. I did my best, did not make any mistakes, and brought the BMW S 1000 RR home safe and sound. The track conditions were more difficult today. It was very hot and I have never known there be so little grip. It was tough for everyone, but we coped well. We have taken a small step forward, which gives us more confidence. We will continue to work hard to improve. So a big thank you to the whole team.”