Phillip Island. The new BMW S 1000 RR has completed its race debut – just three months, after the series version was presented to the world. At the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) season opener at Phillip Island (AUS), race one was held on Saturday. BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team rider Tom Sykes (GBR) finished seventh on his RR. His team-mate Markus Reiterberger crossed the line in 13th place.
Sykes secured fourth place on the grid in the Superpole qualifying on Saturday morning. In the race he rode in the top-six for a long time before slightly dropping back in the closing stages. Reiterberger started from 13th place. After losing a few positions at the start, he rode back into the points positions with his brand-new RR in the following laps.
Quotes after race one at Phillip Island.
Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad: “The first race was an immensely important milestone for us, and we can be very satisfied with the result. We knew that our new BMW S 1000 RR has a very good base for its use in WorldSBK but we certainly could not expect that both riders would score points in the first race. A big compliment to the entire team and colleagues at home in Munich and Berlin for the work done in the short development time. Nevertheless, we also saw today that we still have great potential.”
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We are quite happy with the weekend so far. We have shown in the sessions that we can be with the front-runners. On the other hand, you can also see where we are still losing time at the moment but we were aware of that when we came here after the few test days and we are working on it. As soon as we improve in this area, we’ll be in the mix. We are also pleased because two and a half months ago, we did not expect these results.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “I think both riders did very well. We could not have expected much more from Tom. He was in a battle with the front guys. In a better situation we could have stayed in the tow, but eventually another rider and him messed each other up and he lost touch with the front guys. In my heart, I felt top six was a possibility; seventh is kind of where we expected to be. So for me, Tom had a great race. On the other side of the garage, Markus obviously suffered with qualifying and a poor start. I addition, he struggled with grip but he was in the company of some very good riders and finished only ten seconds behind his team-mate – with a much poorer grid position. So we can take a lot of hope from it and will make some changes overnight.”
Tom Sykes: “Consistently, we have been there in the mix so I am obviously quite surprised about the progress of the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. To be so competitive after just six test days is quite special. I think everybody has seen on track that we had some limitation on the straight line but the positive is that the BMW S 1000 RR is certainly doing its job in the corners. There’s no arguing that we have a very good base set-up in terms of chassis, electronics and brakes. The potential is definitely there. We have one race under our belt now; we keep on working and we keep on progressing. And I have to say: for the base start, I think we surprised quite a lot of people.”
Markus Reiterberger: “We continued to improve in morning practice, but it seems that we start struggling with grip as soon as temperatures rise. In the Superpole, we had an issue with a sensor but I also have to admit that I did not have that comfortable feeling and therefore didn’t have a good lap. Unfortunately my start was not the best, and on the first laps I tried to save the rear tyre for the distance. I succeeded, but overall it was just not possible to finish further ahead. Position 13 is not what I personally expected, but for BMW, finishing seventh was a good result. I think there is still a lot of potential in me and in the bike that we can exploit. We will keep working and I’m sure we will succeed.”