Saturday at Most: Strong Superpole, good pace, disappointing result.
Most. Saturday in the Czech city of Most began with a strong Superpole result for BMW Motorrad Motorsport but ended with a disappointing race result. The FIM Superbike World Championship is making its first appearance at Most, where it is staging round six of the 2021 season. In Superpole, Tom Sykes of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team finished fourth on his BMW M 1000 RR, narrowly missing out on the front row of the grid. He then came home ninth in race one. Sykes’ team-mate Michael van der Mark made an impressive fightback in the race before crashing out. Jonas Folger from the Bonovo MGM Racing team retired with a technical issue.
Tom Sykes after Superpole
Sykes came up just 0.015 seconds short of a place on the front row of the grid in Saturday morning’s Superpole qualifying. However, fourth place also put him in a good position going into the race. Van der Mark had to settle for 17th place in Superpole. Folger, who had crashed in the morning’s third free practice session, qualified 21st.
Sykes climbed into third place at the start of race one. However, he went wide in turn one while having to avoid other riders and slotted back into fifth place. On lap five, he again headed straight on in turn one when he was touched by another bike. Finding himself in tenth place, Sykes attempted to work his way back to the front of the field, but then had issues with the rear tyre. He ultimately crossed the finish line in ninth place.
Michael van der Mark
Starting from 17th on the grid, van der Mark launched a spirited comeback on his M RR. However, having climbed into eighth place, that comeback came to an abrupt end. The Dutchman was one of several riders who crashed out of Saturday’s race. Folger had been continuously moving up the field towards a points finish until a technical issue forced him to retire on lap seven.
Quotes after race one at Most.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “The outcome of the race has been disappointing. In Superpole, Tom gave a strong performance, he was right up there, and his race simulations looked good in practice. During the race, he had to abort at T1 twice going straight on, so he lost several positions throughout. Mickey had a very disappointing qualifying but, in the race, made up in the early stages as he usually does. He had good pace during the race and was catching the P6, P7 group in front of him which would have been a good result to come home with, but he unfortunately crashed. So we take the positive point from today that the pace from Michael was there, but if you don’t bring it home you get no points, so it was disappointing overall. Jonas unfortunately retired due to an engine failure, so we have to look into the cause. Now we hope for a better day tomorrow.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “We always aim for the first two rows as it’s a great position to be in and Tom did just that in Superpole. In the race, Tom got pushed wide going into the first corner and reacted quickly not to lose many positions and time. The SC0 was the tyre of choice for the race and he got into a pretty lonely battle at the end of the day so he will equally be disappointed to finish 26 seconds off the win. Michael had a difficult qualifying session but come the race he did true Michael van der Mark style to battle and come through into a good position. He was doing lap times in that race he hasn’t found all weekend, so I am more pleased he was able to find that comfortable feeling and his confidence ahead of tomorrow. Unfortunately, he crashed at T20 which is easy to do with the temperatures increasing. But we are not totally disappointed, we will come back stronger tomorrow as we gained a lot of information.”
“The qualifying result for sure was nice. When we put the Q tyre into the BMW M 1000 RR, I am able to ride the bike much more naturally, and the bike does things much better. But unfortunately for the race there was a mix of tyres. We went down the safer route and this certainly did not help us. After the start, going into T1 I was in there and I’ve been happy with my braking all weekend, but the guys had stopped, and I didn’t want to collect anyone, so I took the option to spoil my first lap. Then the second time somebody was up the inside of me and touched my handlebar, so I wasn’t able to make the turn. For tomorrow, we will look to improve the set up, and we will revisit the tyre choice. Overall, I am a little bit disappointed, also disappointed with the final race result but we have learnt a lot today. Tomorrow we will get two more chances.”
Michael van der Mark
Michael van der Mark
“It was a really disappointing day, to be honest. In Superpole, I had bad traffic on both outings on the Q tyre, which was such bad luck. It’s a shame as I felt we could really make a step forward, so it was not easy starting from P17 on the grid. Anyway, in the race I got a good start and had good pace. I was fighting my way towards the front and was feeling good with the bike but unfortunately when I was sat in P8 I lost the front going into T20. I was trying hard so it’s a shame because we lost some valuable points. It was a difficult day overall, but we can be happy with the pace we had in race one.”
“I was quick in yesterday’s first free practice session, but unfortunately I then had a crash in practice this morning. The mechanics managed to get the bike ready just in time for qualifying. As a result, I only rode two laps before we went into Superpole. That was probably why I didn’t manage a good time. In the race, I noticed when changing gear that there was a problem with the engine, which unfortunately then failed. It was a tough day.”