FIM EWC in Japan: BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team ready for the Suzuka 8 Hours.


Suzuka. This weekend, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC) are in Asia. Round three of the 2023 season will take place at Suzuka, Japan, from 4th to 6th August. The eight-hour race is a real classic on the series’ calendar and is being held for the 44th time this year. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and its riders Markus Reiterberger, Ilya Mikhalchik and Jérémy Guarnoni will be making their second appearance at Suzuka.

Armed with the new #37 BMW M 1000 RR, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team finished on the podium in third place in each of the first two races of the season, the 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans and the 24H SPA EWC Motos at Spa-Francorchamps. The Suzuka 8 Hours has always been the most important race of the year for the Japanese manufacturers. As such, they line up with a host of strong teams. In preparation for the weekend, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team spent two days testing at Suzuka at the start of July. More test sessions followed this Wednesday. One challenge facing everyone at Suzuka is the climate; high temperatures combined with very high humidity are among the features of this event.

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The race weekend begins on Friday with free practice and the first qualifying sessions. That is followed on Saturday by the second qualifying and the Top 10 Trial, in which the first ten positions on the grid are determined. The race itself gets underway at 11:30 local time (04:30 CEST) on Sunday. As well as the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, four private BMW teams will also start at the Suzuka 8 Hours: TONE RT SYNCEDGE 4413 BMW, the Shinshu activation project Team NAGANO, SANMEI Team TARO PLUSONE, and TEAM FRONTIER.

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Quotes ahead of the Suzuka 8 Hours.

The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team during the test day at Suzuka

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We are very excited about the Suzuka 8 Hours. It is a very special circuit with its own specific challenges, with regard to the layout and the climate. We know how important the event is to the Japanese manufacturers, who are traditionally very strong and line-up with many factory and factory-supported teams. It will not be easy to challenge for the podium. Our goal is to finish in the top-five and score as many points as possible towards the world championship. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and our three drivers Markus, Ilya and Jérémy have worked very hard during the tests to prepare for this challenge. I will have my fingers firmly crossed for them, as I will for the private BMW teams from Asia, who start at Suzuka.”

Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “I think that the test day was really good. To be honest, I came here lacking a bit of confidence, because the pre-test was not so good and not what I had hoped for. But I can say that everyone did a great job. I also want to thank the team, Dunlop, who provided a lot of tyres for us, and BMW who brought a new engineer. The preparation was good, the riders made a great job. We have always been in the top eight which was the goal for the test. To have such a successful test day here at Suzuka gives an extra boost to the entire team. Regarding the goals for the race, I changed my mind, to be honest. When we came here, I thought that top-ten would be already good with the strong Japanese competition we have her. Now I think, that top five or top six is possible if we do not any mistakes. If we collect enough points, everything is possible for the season finale at Le Castellet.”

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Markus Reiterberger

Markus Reiterberger: “The test day was pretty hot but very productive. To be honest, after the last test, we went into the event with lower expectations because we still had some things on our list. However, we got off to a good start, and Dunlop Japan also helped us a lot. We also tried a lot with the suspension and electronics, and in the process, we found and improved several things. In the morning, Ilya and I were relatively equally fast in the top six; in the afternoon, I struggled a bit, but he was really quick. Now, we will work on finding a good setup for all three of us. Overall, we are motivated and want to get the best out of it. In terms of race pace, we are in a good position. The competition is particularly strong here at Suzuka, but we want to take as many points as possible. If we want to be modest, we’ll say the goal is the top ten, but we’re aiming more for the top five. We can achieve that, and we also need these points for the season finale where we want to become world champions.”

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Ilya Mikhalchik

Ilya Mikhalchik: “Suzuka is a very special place and the test day was a pretty good day. We found a good base with bike and tyres which was working pretty well for us and we got some good pace on the race tyres as well as on the qualifying tyres. We made some simulations and it looks like the bike is well prepared for the conditions and the Suzuka track. I am really looking forward to qualifying and the race. The target is to finish the race collecting many points. If we are doing a constant job on the bike we will be able to minimum finish in the top ten and even close to the top five. It will be really interesting to see what the weather will be like. It could be mixed. I just hope that we have good luck and a good race.”

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Jérémy Guarnoni

Jérémy Guarnoni: “The test day went pretty good because we had been quite fast. Especially Ilya was really fast. Now we need to make the test pay off. It is clear which tyre we are going to use. The team has done a really good job. With the lap times we saw at the test, the goal is to fight for the top five or even the podium. But we need to try to have a good package also for the race not only for one lap so that is going to be the work for the next days.”

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