Barcelona. For BMW Motorrad Motorsport, Sunday’s action in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) in Barcelona (ESP) was overshadowed by a heavy crash involving Tom Sykes (GBR) in race two. The British rider was taken to hospital for further checks as a precaution after initial examinations at the Medical Centre revealed that he had suffered a concussion. His team-mate from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, Michael van der Mark (NED), completed the second race in ninth position. Jonas Folger (GER) from the Bonovo MGM Racing team crossed the line in 16th place.
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team had already endured some poor luck in the morning’s Superpole race. Van der Mark fell on the first lap, sending Sykes into the gravel trap. Both riders headed for the pits. After three laps, the race was suspended after another accident. However, according to the regulations, neither BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team rider was allowed to compete in the restart. The sprint race was shortened to five laps, with Folger finishing in 13th place. This meant P10 for Sykes, P13 for van der Mark and P18 for Folger on the grid for race two.
At the beginning of the second race, Sykes fell and was then hit by another rider. Sykes was taken to the circuit’s medical centre, where initial diagnoses revealed a concussion. Further precautionary investigations have since taken place in a Barcelona hospital.
The accident led to the suspension of the race, which restarted after a delay. Van der Mark crossed the line in ninth place. Folger secured 16th position. The WorldSBK now travels to Jerez de le Frontera in southern Spain, where the tenth round of the season will take place next weekend.
Quotes after race two at Barcelona.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “Our main concern is that Tom is well. He is conscious and in hospital for further checks at the moment. We have our fingers firmly crossed that he has come through the crash relatively unscathed. It was not an easy day. Unfortunately, Mickey also took out Tom when he crashed in this morning’s Superpole race. As they had already completed three laps by the time the red flag appeared, we were unfortunately unable to join in when the Superpole race re-started. In race two, Tom fell and was then unfortunately hit by another rider. Mickey was ninth in race two. They were probably difficult conditions for many riders, but that was obviously not the result we were striving for. It was a difficult end to a weekend that actually started very positively.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “First of all, our thoughts are with Tom today. He has gone for further checks at Barcelona Hospital. He has been talking and is conscious which is a good sign so we will wait for further information, however this really casts a shadow over the whole day. In the Superpole race, both riders equally went down from an accident caused by Mickey, which he has sincerely apologized to the team for. In the second feature race, I think Mickey struggled to get his tyre to work for him very early in the race but come the final third, he had pace which was getting him where we expected him to be sort of the third, fourth, fifth, sixth position, but by that point it was too late, so it’s a scant reward for his weekend’s work in 9th position. Now we will draw a line under Catalunya 2021 and move forward to Jerez. But the main thing today is that we wish Tom a speedy recovery.”
Michael van der Mark, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “This morning in the Superpole race I made a mistake. I tried to overtake Tom, but I was too fast and crashed and pushed Tom into the gravel. It was a stupid mistake, so I am really sorry to the team. In race two, I got a reasonable start, but unfortunately the red flag was brought out because of Tom’s crash, from which I hope he is OK. At the restart I struggled with the bike; we didn’t have any stopping performance nor the grip I was aiming for, so it was a long and difficult race. We have to find out the reason why this is happening when the track conditions change. In the end we scored some points and next week we have another chance.”
Jonas Folger, Bonovo MGM Racing: “It was a tough Sunday. We all had difficulties with the grip, but we are not able to get the rear chassis working the way we want it to. As a result, I had problems in the Superpole race and in race two. We will now take a close look at the data and then hopefully take a step forward in Jerez next weekend.”