Barcelona. The countdown is on to the restart of the 2020 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK). After several months without racing, the season is set to resume on the first weekend in August at Jerez de la Frontera (ESP). In preparation for the coming races, the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and its riders Tom Sykes (GBR) and Eugene Laverty (IRL) took part in this week’s tests at the ‘Circuit de Catalunya’ near Barcelona (ESP).
The test allowed the team to evaluate various updates for the BMW S 1000 RR, which have been worked upon during the enforced break since the season-opener in Australia. The fine-tuning primarily centred around finding the best possible basic set-up for round two of the season at Jerez de la Frontera.
The team also used the test to familiarise itself with the ‘Circuit de Catalunya’ and to gain data on the track properties. That is particularly important, as the circuit to the north of Barcelona is new to the WorldSBK calendar in 2020. ‘Circuit de Catalunya’ will host the sixth event of the season from 18th to 20th September.
Quotes after the test at the ‘Circuit de Catalunya’.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We can’t wait to go racing again after the long break we had since Australia. Testing at Barcelona was very beneficial in our preparation for the restart of the season. Conditions have been like we expect them to be at the next rounds we will have in Spain and Portugal. It was also great to get familiar with the ‘Circuit de Catalunya’ which we will race on for the first time in September. We now know a little bit more what to expect there. Now we are looking forward to Jerez and getting back to competition mode again.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “We had some items to test and, very importantly, track familiarisation to get ready for the upcoming race later in the season. The updates that we had to test were mainly electronic strategy related and a lot of the other work that was focused on were race simulations runs and tyre wear in the latter stages of the race. I’m generally happy with both Tom and Eugene. It was very difficult to judge lap times overall with it being very cool in the morning and most were pushing for the times early on. Once the temperatures rose, we concentrated on the race runs. Overall we are happy, we’ve had a good test in Lausitz and here in Barcelona so now we can look forward to the restart of the WorldSBK Championship at Jerez.”
Tom Sykes: “I’m feeling really good as we had a very productive test in Germany and have continued that same form here into Catalunya. It’s great to be here as I have never ridden the track so I’ve really enjoyed the layout of the whole circuit. We’ve had a good test schedule and worked through a lot of test items with the BMW S 1000 RR gathering some crucial information. It’s clear to see that the whole of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team has been hard at work during this difficult period as we arrived here with a lot of ideas. It’s been working on different geometry settings, front and rear suspensions parameters, chassis options and we have certainly improved the electronic strategy. We are still exploring these set ups; we just need some time to put all this together.”
Eugene Laverty: “This test has been my best run on the bike yet, it’s been fantastic and in particular my race run in that final session there. I did a race run yesterday which was a good pace, but I knew I had more to give today and I proved that. We lapped from the start in the 1’43.300’s and by lap 18 we were at 1’43.900, which was incredible compared to what a lot of the others lads were doing over the race distance. This morning I had some good pace on the ‘X’ tyre and then jumped to the ‘Q’ tyre but had a little crash. The crash was a similar crash to the one in Phillip Island which is something we need to look at. Overall I’m happy with the test and I’m looking forward to getting out in Jerez in a few weeks’ time.”