Pole position celebrations combined with mixed feelings at WorldSBK Magny-Cours

Magny-Cours. Pole position for the BMW M 1000 RR with new all-time lap record, followed by a great fourth place in the first race. BMW Motorrad factory rider Garrett Gerloff (USA) gave BMW Motorrad Motorsport and the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team plenty of reasons to celebrate on Saturday at Magny-Cours (FRA). The American racer gave another strong performance on Sunday, finishing fifth in the second main race. The best race result for Scott Redding (GBR) from the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team was seventh place on Saturday. Loris Baz (FRA / Bonovo action BMW Racing Team) followed a good qualifying session by finishing seventh in the Superpole race. The best result for Michael van der Mark (NED / ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was 13th position in qualifying and in the Superpole race. Magny-Cours hosted the ninth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship 2023 (WorldSBK).


Gerloff had already finished second in all three practice sessions, showing just how fast he was at Magny-Cours. In the Superpole on Saturday morning, he then gave another spectacular performance; with a new all-time lap record of 1:35.453 minutes, the American racer claimed his first WorldSBK pole position, and the first for the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team. His team-mate Baz secured sixth place on the grid. Redding was also on track for a top result for the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team on his BMW M 1000 RR, only to slide and fall. He finished tenth, moving up to ninth on the grid due to a penalty for another rider. Van der Mark finished the Superpole in 13th position.


Having started from pole position, Gerloff lost a few positions in the turmoil of the opening corners. However, he remained in the top five and crossed the line in fourth place as the best rider from a team in the Independent standings. That was also Gerloff’s best race result of the season so far. Redding finished the first race in seventh place. Baz stayed in the top six throughout the opening third, but then struggled with various problems and fell back through the field. He finished in 13th position, while van der Mark crossed the finish line in 16th.


The first lap of the Superpole race on Sunday morning featured an unfortunate racing incident as the bikes with Redding and Gerloff at the controls collided. Both riders went down. Gerloff then had to head for the pits and retire, while Redding was able to rejoin the race. He eventually crossed the line in 20th place. Baz finished seventh, securing a good start position for the second main race. Van der Mark finished the Superpole race in 13th position.


In race two on Sunday afternoon, Gerloff finished fifth and was once again the best-placed representative of a team from the Independent standings. The race was interrupted on lap five after an accident involving Redding and Dominique Aegerter (SUI / Yamaha), before restarting for 17 further laps. Baz crossed the line in twelfth place. Redding was able to participate in the restart but then retired due to a technical problem. Van der Mark was also unable to reach the finish after taking a tumble.


The tenth round of the 2023 WorldSBK season will take place in two weeks (22nd to 24th September) at MotorLand Aragón, Spain. BMW Motorrad Motorsport, the four riders and both teams completed two successful days of testing there at the end of August.


Reactions to the Magny-Cours round.


Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “It all went wonderfully this weekend for Garrett and the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team. I was delighted to see that Garrett was finally able to convert his great pace from recent races into positive results. All-time lap record, pole position, a great first race with a fourth-placed finish. In the Superpole race, there was an unfortunate racing accident involving Scott and Garrett. This had a negative impact on our start position for the second main race. Unfortunately, the accident involving Scott and Dominique – we send our very best wishes to him – prompted a red flag. Of course, that throws everything out of kilter. Garrett initially fell back from ninth place at the restart, but then produced some superb lap times at the level of Toprak and Johnny to race back up to fifth. I am very pleased that we were able to show here what potential the bike has. Unfortunately, Mickey was unable to develop a real feel for the bike over the weekend as a whole. He is still working on his comeback after suffering that serious injury. Scott had good pace and was able to show that by finishing seventh in the first race. However, he had a Sunday to forget, with a lot of bad luck. He has to collect himself and go back on the attack at Aragón. Loris qualified well behind Garrett, but he was unable to maintain the pace over the race distance. Overall, I am extremely pleased that we were able to show the podium potential of the bike, and we will build on that in the final three rounds.”


Garrett Gerloff, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team (SP: 1 / R01: 4 / SP Race: DNF / R02: 5): “This weekend was pretty damn good, and really close to being a dream weekend. At the end, having my first pole position for myself and for the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team and then two top-five finishes is something we can be very happy with. And it was also a weekend we can use to build on for the future. All in all we learned a lot and we can use this for the last three rounds and I’m really looking forward to it.”


Scott Redding, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team (SP: 10 / R01: 7 / SP Race: 20 / R02: DNF): “Not my best weekend of luck. I felt good with the bike this weekend but I was just a little bit unlucky with a couple of crashes. I don’t ever remember crashing three times in a weekend, so it was quite strange. It think because it was so close with the laps times and to get the results there is really small room for error. Obviously we had a crash in race two before the re-start. The guys did a great job to get the bike ready to start the final race – it was quite damaged. I felt good at the re-start and then I had two long lap penalties to do. For me it was important to do them, but I made a good start and made up positions. Then I started to have some small engine troubles. I think that was from the crashes this weekend, maybe I damaged the engine. It was not a good weekend for us regarding results, but we had the pace and we felt good. So we need to see if we can come back a little bit at Aragón.”


Loris Baz, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team (SP: 6 / R01: 13 / SP Race: 7 / R02: 12): “It was a tough weekend and not what I have expected. Especially after I wanted to continue in the way of Imola and Most. From last year, I knew the bike was working well here, but we just didn’t find what was needed. We also had some technical issues and also our base set up was not suiting the track really well. We were always a bit behind. We kept trying and tried to use Garretts base, because he was obviously super strong. In qualifying it worked well and it helped me a lot for the Superpole race but we were just not ready for the long race. In races one and two it was actually just about surviving and it’s really difficult to race like this, because the only thing you’re trying is to not make any mistakes and not to crash. So at the end I was just happy to bring the bike home and it was for sure not the weekend we wanted to. But for sure we’re trying again at Aragón. We have three more rounds to go and we’ll do our best to have some good results.”


Michael van der Mark, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team (SP: 13 / R01: 16 / SP Race: 13 / R02: DNF): “I was really looking forward to the weekend and to being back racing but unfortunately it turned out to be tough days and we never really managed to give me the right feeling for the bike. We worked very hard and tried several set-up options but did not find the right direction to go. We have seen the potential of the BMW M 1000 RR here at Magny-Cours. That makes me confident and the full focus is now on the next round at Aragón. We’ve tested there and we will give everything to have a stronger weekend there.”

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