Alcañiz. Sunday’s FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) races resulted in mixed emotions for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team at MotorLand Aragón (ESP). In the Superpole race, Tom Sykes (GBR) once again rode his new BMW S 1000 RR to fifth place. However, he had to be content with 12th position in the second main race on Sunday afternoon. Team-mate Markus Reiterberger retired from the Superpole race due to a technical issue and crossed the line 15th in the afternoon’s race.
It was a successful start to Sunday, with Sykes claiming second place in warm-up and Reiterberger in fifth. In the following Superpole race, Sykes repeated his performance from Saturday’s race one to claim a top-five place. Reiterberger was forced to retire with an issue with the primary gear. Sykes was in fifth place with his RR on the starting grid for race two, while Reiterberger began the race from 11th position. Sykes was able to defend his position before taking a wide line through one turn and slipping back a few places. The British rider lost more ground towards the mid-point of the race before crossing the line in 12th place. Reiterberger also had a difficult time, finishing in 15th place.
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team now moves to Assen in the Netherlands, where the fourth round of the 2019 WorldSBK season takes place this coming weekend (12th to 14thApril).
Quotes after race two at MotorLand Aragón.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “Overall, we feel that we had a very good weekend that unfortunately ended in a disappointing way. We are pleased, but of course it’s a shame that we had such a tough final race after the good results in the first main race, and in the Superpole race. Both riders told us that the tyres had very little grip, but that alone cannot be the reason. Markus had a few problems with the electronics in the second race. We would have liked to have carried the positive feelings into the next race, but we will just try and forget about it and pick up where we left off in the Superpole Race.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “We had a very good Superpole yesterday which set us up for the weekend. We obviously then started today’s Superpole race in a good situation. Tom fought really well; Markus had a technical issue which sadly put him out and had to start from 11th in today’s main race. But Tom had a strong Superpole Race; he battled through. We can obviously see where the deficiencies are with the bike but I think overall it has been a promising weekend and we’ve made some good steps forward. Clearly, the main race was difficult for us to watch. Markus again had a technical issue and Tom was really struggling with grip. Once he was in a group of riders, he was clearly faster in the corners but slower on the straights and he was always in a difficult situation. It was a long race for him and one by one he got picked of. Eventually he brought the bike home with points. Not where we wanted to be but two strong races out of three has not been too bad this weekend.”
Tom Sykes: “Honestly, it has been a very positive weekend for the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. I honestly feel that we have again made some steps forward. I am very impressed and also there have been a lot of people inside the racing paddock who have commented on the potential of the BMW S 1000 RR, so I think we are heading in the right direction and are definitely making good progress. Again – to repeat myself – considering the limited amount of track time we have had, I think it’s even more impressive than our expectation. Everything was good, we were top five in most of the sessions, we almost – with the exception of my mistake in Superpole – almost showed an incredible potential speed. And then in the final race, it’s not a big problem, just if I am being blunt, we did not have the correct rear traction, which is a shame because the bike did not change and on the same tyre I was so fast during the race weekend. So with my honest opinion and with my experience I certainly feel we perhaps did not have a tyre that was to its full potential. It made my race very difficult and longer than anticipated and it’s a shame as our speed was certainly good enough to be inside the top five or top four again. So it was a bit of a disappointment on a great weekend but this is part of racing. Sometimes these things happen and we will be making up for this moving forward.”
Markus Reiterberger: “After my fall yesterday, I was not sure how I would feel, but I was back to normal this morning and the medical check gave me the green light. I felt great during warm-up and I managed to produce eight to ten really fast laps. That meant that I was ready for the race. We changed the ratio a bit for the Superpole race as the wind was so strong, so we were expecting some slipstream duels. It didn’t feel so bad during the early laps, however, I suddenly got a warning in the cockpit and also heard some noises and had to park up the bike. That was annoying, as it meant starting the second race from 11th place. I made a normal start but once again it was another rider who knocked my handlebar – this time it was Michael van der Mark. I was just about able to stop myself from falling again. I recovered from that but then I had two massive highsiders that I was just about able to deal with. Something was not quite right and I think, but am not sure, that it could have been a problem with the tyres. In any case, it proved impossible to ride it out and I just wanted to get over the line for the points. Now we will analyse what the problem was, carry on working and start afresh at Assen.”