Munich. For five months the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team has had to exercise great patience. Now the action is coming thick and fast. Since the season-opener at the end of February/start of March on Phillip Island (AUS), the crisis has forced the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) to take a break from racing. The Spanish city of Jerez de la Frontera now hosts round two of the season this weekend (31st July to 2nd August). From there, the team and its riders Tom Sykes (GBR) and Eugene Laverty (IRL) travel straight to Portimão (POR), where the third event of the year will take place just one week later.
BMW Motorrad Motorsport has spent the race-free period analysing findings from the opening round on Phillip Island and continuing to develop the BMW S 1000 RR. The result is a number of updates for many areas of the bike. The test at Barcelona (ESP) in the second week of July allowed the team to start its final preparations for the resumption of the season in similarly summery conditions as they can expect at the next two events.
Quotes ahead of the events in Jerez and Portimão.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “After several months without racing, we are really looking forward to finally testing ourselves against our rivals out on the track again, and to offering our fans a double dose of eagerly-awaited motorsport – on television, at least. Jerez and Portimão are both great circuits, but are very different. We do have to work in restricted conditions, but we have prepared for this and are ready for the challenge. We also saw from MotoGP, which recently visited Jerez, that the expected heat will pose an additional challenge for man and machine. However, we are prepared, confident, and can hardly wait to get going again! We have made good use of the break in racing, even if not all the results of our development work are ready to be used at the next two events.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “It is great to be back with round two of the 2020 WorldSBK. It seems so many months ago since we did the opening round in Australia. Since then, an awful lot of things have happened in the world and we have to respect the conditions we are working in. The safety and health of everyone have the highest priority for us. Regarding the racing aspects, we had two good tests at the Lausitzring and the ‘Circuit de Catalunya’ so we are optimistic that we are better prepared for the long race distance. Additionally, we know that the temperatures are going to be very high both at Jerez and Portimão, track and ambiance temperatures, so that is going to be a challenge for everybody. But we think that the successful work we did at Catalunya in the heat will put us in a good position for the races. Tom and Eugene both get a lot of testing laps completed and they have a good direction already of how they would like to start the Jerez weekend. Hopefully, both guys can qualify well, can take this into the races and come away with strong finishes. Both riders have a good experience with the BMW S 1000 RR at Jerez – Tom from last season and Eugene also from pre-season testing, so we should hit the ground running and we are hopeful that we can take on the fight.”
Tom Sykes: “It is absolutely fantastic that finally the time has arrived after this very difficult period. We did some testing but racing is racing, so I am really happy to head into the double header, straight into things, at Jerez and Portimão. The characteristics of these tracks are really quite different, Jerez is pretty flowing and then Portimão up and down really considered a rollercoaster of a track, so we have certainly exciting but for sure also hot venues approaching. The target going into the weekend is to work on the bike set-up to ensure we have a good package on the BMW S 1000 RR for the warm conditions and go from there. The goal is always so achieve the maximum that we can as a team during the race weekend and to get the results that we can achieve together. I am really looking forward to getting back to racing and a big thanks goes to the organisers and all involved to manage to organise that calendar during this very difficult period.”
Eugene Laverty: “Following on from a successful two-day test with the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team earlier this month, I’m very excited about the upcoming races at Jerez and Portimão. The air temperature is going to be above 30°C making the asphalt quite slippery and smooth throttle control will be key. I’ve won races previously at Jerez and Portimão so I have fond memories of them both. The Portimão circuit is just fifteen minutes from where I live in Portugal so that will make it that bit more special for me. The five months’ pause from racing due to Covid-19 has given me a chance to re-energize and I’m very eager to get going again. A few months ago I really didn’t believe that we would return to racing at all in 2020, so compliments to Dorna for managing to get us back on track so swiftly.”