Phillip Island. The new BMW S 1000 RR has already proved to be a consistent points collector on its debut weekend in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK). Again in Sunday’s race at Phillip Island (AUS), both BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team riders scored world championship points. Markus Reiterberger (GER) finished 12th, immediately followed by team-mate Tom Sykes (GBR) in 13th.
On Sunday at noon, the new “Superpole Race” was on the programme, a sprint race over ten laps, in which Sykes and Reiterberger took positions 11 and 12. The afternoon race was run over 22 laps, as on Saturday. Sykes started from tenth on the grid, with Reiterberger from 13th. In the opening stage, Sykes had a ‘moment’ when battling with another rider and lost positions while Reiterberger fell back slightly at the start. Over the course of the race, however, both riders worked their way forward and together were part of a closely fighting group of five. The two team-mates also exchanged positions several times. Ultimately, Reiterberger finished 1.3 seconds ahead of Sykes.
Phillip Island also hosted the 2019 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) season opener at the weekend. Glenn Allerton (AUS) from the NextGen Motorsports/ Maxima BMW team was the highest placed BMW rider. In the three races held, he claimed two seventh places and one ninth place. His team-mate Ted Collins (AUS) finished 11th twice and once in tenth position.
Quotes after race two at Phillip Island.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We have to be satisfied with the first race weekend with our brand new BMW S 1000 RR. We could, however, also see in the ‘Superpole Race’ and in race two that we still can’t recall our true pace. We still lose on the straight, but at other points of the track we are then right behind the competition again. If we were alone on the track, we would set top-six or top-eight times, but if we are in a race in the pack, we can’t reproduce them because we are stuck. So the positive thing is that our theoretical pace is already very good. Now we will do everything we can to improve in our straight-line deficit. But this first race weekend makes me basically confident for the course of the season.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “We’ve got to be realistic and we have probably reached our goals for the first time we raced the BMW S 1000 RR so we are very happy. We have had no major incidents and I think that we have proved that the bike is going to be competitive very soon. We clearly have our limitations at the moment and we will work hard on sorting them out in the break before the next races. Both riders rode very well and both have been very patient in understanding that we need to wait for the development parts to come through. So from my side the overall summary is that we can look forward to a very competitive bike over the course of the season. We just need to be patient and wait for that to arrive.”
Markus Reiterberger: “Today was much better than yesterday. I really enjoyed the race. Even though I missed my goal, the top-ten, I could at least see that it was possible. I would have had the necessary pace if I had not started so far back after difficulties in qualifying and if I had made a better start. In the race itself I had a better feeling from the beginning, and above all more self-confidence. Although the grip level was even worse at today’s higher temperatures than yesterday, we did a good job and took another step in the right direction. I was able to out-brake some opponents and gain a lot in the corners – that’s where our BMW S 1000 RR is really phenomenal. Unfortunately overtaking is still difficult for us because we lose at the corner exit and on the straight. I take the positives: the top-ten was possible, the feeling is better and the direction is right. I would like to thank the entire team that works tirelessly to make this progress possible. We are competing in the world championship; that’s not a walk in the park. We are a very young project and the potential is definitely there. Now I can’t wait until we head to the next races.”
Tom Sykes: “It has been a challenging day but I have to say that our results do not reflect where we really are. It is just unfortunate that at the moment the bike still has some limitations in straight-line performance but it’s still very early days. On the positive side we have a very good chassis set-up so we were able to make some good passes but then lost again on the easy part of the track. We have shown what is possible by being in the top-five during all tests and practices when we are riding alone, so we know which area we have to work on with the bike and we now have some race mileage under our belt. And I know that now the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team will work hard to keep progressing like we did over winter.”