Most debut in WorldSBK ends with a solid Sunday of racing.
Most. The Autodrom Most debut in the FIM Superbike World Championship ended with a solid day of racing for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. In the Superpole race on Sunday morning, Tom Sykes and Michael van der Mark from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team finished fifth and eleventh. In the afternoon’s second race, van der Mark climbed ten places to finish as the best-placed BMW rider in seventh. Sykes came home in ninth place. Jonas Folger from BMW Team Bonovo MGM Racing narrowly missed out on the points in race two, finishing 16th.
First on Sunday morning was the Superpole race, which Sykes started from fourth place. He lost one position in the turmoil at the start, before holding onto fifth place right through to the finish after ten laps of racing. Van der Mark climbed into eleventh place from 17th on the grid. Folger was 18th, having started 21st.
Michael van der Mark
Van der Mark gave another eye-catching performance in race two on Sunday afternoon, gaining ten positions with an impressive fightback. Having started 17th, he crossed the finish line 22 laps later in seventh place, just half a second outside the top five. After the start, van der Mark had to take evasive measures to avoid a multi-bike crash, before launching his assault on the front of the field. By lap three he had reached the top ten. After seven laps, he was running ninth. The Dutchman climbed into seventh place on lap 17. Team-mate Sykes spent the majority of the race in the top six, but then fell back a few positions to ninth in the final third of the race. Folger, who again started from 21st place, raced into 17th place on the opening lap. He then continued to make progress into 16th place and eventually crossed the finish line in that position, just 0.210 seconds outside the points.
Quotes after race two at Most.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “I think we can be pleased with the results today. Tom had a very good Superpole race and didn’t have to go straight on at T1 so he could stick in his fifth position and brought it home very well. Michael had a good catch up all the from 17th, but the first lap was difficult and he lost nearly five seconds to the front runners in the first lap. He finished one second off P9 which would have given us ninth position on the grid, but it was not meant to be so we started 17th again with Mickey for the feature race. In race two, Michael confirmed his very good pace and to come all the way from 17th to seventh is pleasing, although this confirms that you need to start in those first three rows. With Tom, we will have to see which issues he had. He was still quite close in the group but couldn’t hold his position and dropped down to ninth. Jonas had another difficult day so we will have to investigate what is going on there, but he doesn’t have his mojo at the moment. Overall, it was nice to be in Most, and to have the fans back with us. It is a nice track layout however with some safety points to be raised for next year.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “The Superpole race gave us everything we had hoped, all but the fact we didn’t quite get that ninth position that Michael needed to give him an increased grid position. Tom made a really good job on the ‘X’ tyre and did well to finish fifth. It was a real shame for Mickey; if he had just got into ninth position it would have made a real difference in main feature race. Nevertheless, Michael did really well not to get tangled up in a crash in the first corner and got to work really quick and one by one picked off the riders in front of him. I think another lap and we could have had sixth, but it proves how strong Michael is feeling with the BMW M 1000 RR, so overall a good job by Michael. Tom got a good start but got a bit stuck in the middle of the race really and couldn’t improve his lap time. He got passed by a few riders but still commendable to finish ninth. So, overall, we leave Most frustrated on Friday, not so bad on Saturday and a lot happier Sunday.”
Michael van der Mark
Michael van der Mark
“I think the at the end of the weekend it was not too bad. Especially this morning in the Superpole race I had such good pace, I improved over a second compared to yesterday and I was really happy on the bike. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good start, I was a bit unlucky at T1 and couldn’t gain as many positions as I hoped so for race two I had to start from 17th again. The first run off the line was good and then the bike started to wheelie so we lost a little bit of time. Something happened at T1, but I was quite smart and took a tight line and avoided a lot of people. After that we had good pace and I was catching the guys in front one by one but I just couldn’t get by Rinaldi. Together we passed some people and in the end I tried to grab sixth or fifth. Overall, I think after all the struggles this weekend the team deserved a solid result.”
“It is what it is, I’m not entirely happy. In the sprint race I was able to maintain ten laps but in the second race I was struggling to just finish off the turn in the latter stages. There is still work to be done. We made a couple of small changes but we can’t do what our competitors are doing in the last eight laps. We have learnt a lot this weekend and certainly I’ve been close to several bikes, so I know where we are strong and where we need to work on. Overall, it was not the best weekend but there were some positives in Superpole and in the sprint race, so now for the longer race we can look to improve that package and keep working.”
“Today’s race was the best of the weekend, even if it was not quite as successful as I had envisaged. I had difficulties setting fast lap times this weekend, and am still having issues with various areas of the bike. We will keep working hard, comparing the data with that of Tom and Michael, and hope to take the next step forward. My goal is to consistently finish in the points.”