San Juan. BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team’s hard work went unrewarded in the Sunday race of the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) in San Juan (ARG). Tom Sykes (GBR) finished in ninth place on his BMW S 1000 RR in the Superpole race, but then a technical issue forced him to retire from the second race in the afternoon. His team-mate Markus Reiterberger (GER) finished in 17th and 16th place. The ‘Circuito San Juan Villicum’ hosted the twelfth and penultimate round of the 2019 WorldSBK season.
With considerably cooler temperatures, the track conditions on Sunday were much better than on the previous days. Sykes started the Superpole race in the afternoon from 13th on the grid. He moved up into eighth place right after the start. He lost one place, but crossed the finish line in ninth place after a hotly contested race, which saw him secure a start position on the third row of the grid for the second main race in the afternoon. Reiterberger finished in 17th place in the Superpole race, which was his start position for the afternoon race.
The hopes of Sykes moving up the field from ninth on the grid came to nothing. He initially dropped down the field slightly, before he was forced to park his motorcycle at the edge of the track on the seventh lap. Reiterberger was embroiled in several duels at the rear of the field and in 16th place missed out on finishing in the points by just 0.1 seconds.
The finale of the 2019 WorldSBK season will be held in two weeks’ time, in Qatar from 24th to 26th October.
Quotes after race two at San Juan.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “It was a difficult end to a disappointing weekend. Unfortunately, we retired from the main race as a result of a technical issue with the clutch. However, we have to be realistic and say that we were never going to get a good result. We just didn’t understand why we were so far behind and what we needed to do to remedy the issue. We didn’t have consistent track conditions to enable us to find a solution. The track was catastrophic on the first day, okay yesterday morning, then extremely hot in the afternoon, and this morning it was back to being acceptable – these conditions meant that the lap times varied drastically. As a result, we were unable to gradually draw the necessary conclusions as to which direction we needed to take. We will now take the data we collected back with us, and will analyse why we weren’t as competitive as we had hoped this weekend.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “Today was probably one of our most difficult days of the season. On paper, the Superpole race was not so bad for Tom. At least he managed to get on the third row for the start of the main race, but with this new model of bike we don’t have any data to work with, so everything is new for us. With every setting we try, we are chasing the perfect set-up. All we can do is take all this data with us and when we come back here again, we will have a better position to start with. So it’s been really difficult for us, but we must take the positives and build on this. Markus has also really struggled and didn’t find a comfortable setting, but we just have to close the book on this event and re-energise as we get ready for Qatar, where hopefully we can start on the front foot.”
Tom Sykes: “It’s been a difficult weekend. We made some improvements on the greasy track condition and I honestly felt we had a consistent race pace during that last race, but we ran into difficulty with the bike which meant we had to retire. Overall, it’s been a challenging weekend for the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, but like I said it wasn’t the easiest of track conditions; however, given the circumstances I feel we gathered some very valuable information for the future. We will put this weekend behind us and move on to the next race in Qatar, where hopefully we can take another step forward.”
Markus Reiterberger: “We had much better weather conditions today. It was cooler, which meant that the racing line on the track was in a much better state. Unfortunately, I made two mistakes on the first two laps of the Superpole race and went too wide. As a result, the race didn’t go well for me, and I crossed the finish line pretty far down the field. We made a few changes for the second race, and I felt relatively okay on the bike in the race itself. Points would have been achievable, and I battled with Sandro Cortese on the final three laps, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get the point. Generally, we are still a little bit too slow and we need to find the reason why. I hope that I will end the season on a personal high in Qatar. We all pulled together here, and I’m grateful for that, even if we weren’t rewarded with a good result.”