Imola. Sunday’s race day at Imola (ITA) was much shorter than planned for the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) and the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. Tom Sykes (GBR) and Markus Reiterberger (GER) claimed eighth and tenth positions in the morning’s Superpole race. Race two in the afternoon had to be cancelled due to heavy rain.
The track was already moist during morning warm-up. This was the very first session in rainy conditions with the new BMW S 1000 RR for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, as all previous tests and races had taken place in the dry.
The weather conditions for the morning’s Superpole race were changeable, with dry spells. Sykes gave an impressive recovery performance: he had to start from the pit lane, in last place, due to his tyre pressure being slightly too low on the grid. Sykes ploughed through the field on his RR, moving up so far that he was able to cross the line in eighth position. Reiterberger ended the Superpole race in tenth place. A heavy downpour began just as the grid formed up for the second race. The start was delayed and then the race was finally cancelled an hour and a half later.
Quotes after Sunday at Imola.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “After this weekend, we can draw the positive conclusion that our race pace is very good. However, yesterday’s technical problems and Tom being demoted today meant that we weren’t able to make the most of it. I understand the decision made by race control and the riders that it would have been too dangerous to start the race in the afternoon, although it would have been good for us to ride in the rain, as that would have helped us prepare for the future. Overall, we take a positive attitude from Imola as we head to the next race.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “The summary of the day is that we proved again that the BMW S 1000 RR is getting very quick now. We have a good pace and I was looking forward to a dry race. In the Superpole race, Tom unfortunately had to start from pit lane. He did the sighting lap to the grid on race tyres. Due to the low temperatures, the tyre pressure slightly dropped below the limit. We will adapt the procedures to avoid this in the future. Tom’s race then was very positive. With his lap times he could have been battling for fourth position which is a fantastic position to be in. Markus went with a different tyre scenario. He was one of only four riders to opt for the SCX tyre. It was a gamble and he would have been very, very good if that would have worked out but unfortunately he lost the tyre before the race was finished. But anyway, we are happy with the top ten for Markus. Overall we can say after this weekend that we are now showing that with its pace the bike can be fast now at many circuits. We can carry this forward and it’s also important that we will have a test at Misano before Jerez because we once again have many things to test.”
Tom Sykes: “We just had a little bit of bad luck. The tyre pressure was finally correct but on the grid it was a little bit low because I made a slow lap to the grid. The BMW S 1000 RR chassis was working very well. I made obviously a lot of passes in ten laps. Sure, I’m a bit disappointed but we’re making progress all the time; the team works very hard and I am sure we will have some good fortunes soon. For now it has been a strange day, another race cancelled due to safety conditions, and now we are moving on to the next race where I hope the package can also be competitive. So keep working and hoping we will get the result we’re all working forward very soon.”
Markus Reiterberger: “This morning’s warm-up was the first time that we had raced in the rain with the new RR. I had a pretty good feeling. The conditions were changeable for the Superpole race. It was mainly dry, with some wet spots and we took the risk to opt for the Supersoft tyre. Unfortunately, tyre wear was quite heavy towards the end but I managed to cross the line in tenth place. We had to wait a long time to find out whether we would have a second race or not. It would have been important for us to gain some experience in the rain but the decision to cancel made sense from the point of view of rider safety, as it was really at the limit. Overall, we learned a lot at Imola and we will check out a lot of things during testing to help us continue to make progress. Thanks to the team for their hard work. We will all work hard together to reap the benefits of this work.”