Jerez de la Frontera. Three teams, six BMW Motorrad Motorsport factory riders; the first test session of the year saw BMW Motorrad Motorsport kick off the critical phase of preparations for the 2024 season in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) with a big line-up. The official tests at Jerez de la Frontera (ESP) on Wednesday and Thursday not only featured the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team with Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR) and Michael van der Mark (NED) and the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team with Garrett Gerloff (USA) and Scott Redding (GBR) on the circuit. The BMW Motorrad Motorsport Test Team was also in action with Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) and Bradley Smith (GBR).
The two days of testing in southern Spain also represented the first opportunity to go up against WorldSBK rivals, as all manufacturers were taking part. The BMW Motorrad Motorsport WorldSBK teams and the test team enjoyed good conditions at Jerez de la Frontera, with plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures. They were able to complete a comprehensive testing schedule. The focus was on set-up work in a range of areas such as chassis and electronics, as well as evaluating newly developed components.
A further two days of testing are scheduled for early next week at Portimão, Portugal. Phillip Island in Australia will be the location for final testing on 19th and 20th February. That will be followed by the season-opener there from 23rd to 25th February.
Quotes after the Jerez de la Frontera test.
Garrett Gerloff (#31 BMW M 1000 RR, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team): “Overall, it was a good test. We were able to sort out a few problems that we had which is good. All in all it was just really nice to get on the bike again after two months of not riding and to finally do some laps. I am really excited to head to Portimão and keep trying to get faster. I feel like we have an idea of what we want to try and change at Portimão and then we should be good to go for the season. I am happy with this test, happy to reunite with my team and looking forward to riding again in a few days.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (#54 BMW M 1000 RR, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “These two days of testing have been very positive for me, especially as I am still learning the bike on every lap and I am improving. Especially on these two days we have learnt a lot and we improved some things. We tried many new parts. Sometimes they worked well, sometimes not, but this is normal. We just try to find a good set-up and good parts. In general, it has been a very positive test. I did not expect to ride a 1:38 lap time. I’m very surprised because for me the bike is still new, I am still learning and usually my plan is to do a mid 1:39 maybe, but yesterday I started straight away with a 1:39 and I believe that I also could have made a 1:38 yesterday. Today I finally made it and I am very happy about it because I see the potential of the bike and this is very good for me. Now we keep working hard and we just need to find my set-up. And after that we will start fighting.”
Scott Redding (#45 BMW M 1000 RR, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team): “So, the first two days of testing this year are completed. On day one I was feeling pretty sick. It has been difficult but we have been able to do some laps and find some feeling with the bike. It was just about settling with the new team and blowing the cobwebs away. Coming into day two I felt a lot better and then we worked a lot with the bike to get my confidence and my feeling. We played a little bit with the set-up and tested a few new parts from BMW and I was reasonably happy with the steps that we made for my confidence on the bike. I am looking forward to Portimão next and see if the set-up also works on another circuit.”
Michael van der Mark (#60 BMW M 1000 RR, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “It has been a busy test; two perfect days with amazing weather, so it was great for testing and I really enjoyed riding again. We’ve been trying to test a lot of different set-ups and different parts on the bike. They have been quite busy days but I really enjoyed it. We are still trying to improve the bike, and are getting better and better. Also myself, my riding has improved so I am quite happy with it. We learnt a lot and I’m looking forward to Portimão. It’s one of my favourite tracks so I can’t wait to go out there and keep working.”