Alcañiz. With two weeks to go until the start of the 2021 season in the FIM FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK), BMW Motorrad Motorsport has entered a crucial phase of preparations. MotorLand Aragón, the Spanish circuit that will host the opening races of the year, was the venue for this week’s intensive tests with the new BMW M 1000 RR. Among those attending were the factory team, the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, with riders Tom Sykes (GBR) and Michael van der Mark (NED), as well as the two BMW satellite teams: Bonovo MGM Racing with Jonas Folger (GER) and RC Squadra Corse with Eugene Laverty (IRL).
The test was primarily used to test further developments and fine-tune the bikes to the individual needs of the riders ahead of the start of the season. Working closely together, and blessed with ideal conditions in the Spanish sun, the teams and riders gained a lot of valuable information for their final preparations.
WorldSBK kicks off the 2021 season with a double-header. The action takes place from 21st to 23rd May at MotorLand Aragón. Round two of the season follows just one week later (28th to 30th May), at Estoril, Portugal.
Quotes after the test at MotorLand Aragón.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “It was the last test before it really gets serious – on this same track. Again, we had productive days under perfect weather conditions without any large technical issues so we could clearly conduct our test plan. Already, the satellite teams have shown added value for us because we can get more confirmation and we can share the test points so we can get through more work. That is very positive, we still have some homework to do before the first race but I am confident we will get there and already in some areas it’s a clear improvement, like top speed, brakes and so on. Overall I am happy and I am very much looking forward to finally race.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “It was good to get to the final test in pre-season preparation at Aragón. We again had good conditions. I think we have been very fortunate this year with the late start of the season and selecting to start our testing late has paid dividends. On track activities – we have been focusing on chassis and electronic work. I think it is fair to say that we have completed most of that; we have a good direction going into the Aragón race weekend. Lap times are difficult to judge as from starting at ten o’clock to the middle of the day and the end of the day, it is difficult to tell who was running what tyres. But it is clear that the race pace is very strong from last year to this year from the competition and we need to be on point come Aragón race to be in contention for the podium. Nevertheless, we are happy where we are and we look forward to the first round.”
Tom Sykes, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “It has been a very productive test. We have done such a lot now with the electronics all over, the traction control, the engine brake, the power level maps. We’ve also been working with different chassis configurations and set-up and were also trying some things with the engine. Apart from that it was quite some other fundamental things that we have been trying. So overall, they have been very busy days. A big thanks to the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team that has put in very long hours on all the preparations. We just need to go back now and use all this information but certainly there has been a lot gathered and I really feel we can improve the whole package of the new BMW M 1000 RR. I am looking forward to the first races now.”
Michael van der Mark, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “They have been fantastic days. All days, the weather was good. On Monday, it was a bit cold but then it got warmer and warmer so we got a lot of different weather and track conditions and this was really good. It was perfect to test here just before the first race. A lot of things to try, a lot of things to improve but I am really happy with the progression we are making. Of course it’s always difficult to see where you are at a test but we will find out at the race weekends. I am looking forward to some good battles again and to fight with the other guys on track.”
Jonas Folger, Bonovo MGM Racing: “That was our final test before the start of the season. We once again used the time to test all our options and directions, from the chassis to the electronics. We learned a lot, so we are well-prepared for the first races.”
Eugene Laverty, RC Squadra Corse: “First and foremost, I am so happy to be back on a bike after six and a half months off. The big surprise for me was that after this period I was able to get back on my bike and within two exists be on a good pace. So we had three really good days, good weather, surprisingly fast lap times and my main focus has been to improve the baking performance and we did that. So, job well done and I am really happy with my RC Squadra Corse team. Now I am looking forward to the first round here at Aragón after our successful test.”