WorldSBK in Assen: Moving in the right direction.
Assen. BMW Motorrad Motorsport took the hoped-for step forward at the second race weekend of the FIM Superbike World Championship 2022 (WorldSBK) at Assen. The best result was recorded by Scott Redding from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, with fifth place in the second race on Sunday. Before that, Loris Baz from the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team had completed race one on Saturday and the Superpole race in sixth place. Making his comeback after an enforced absence due to injury, Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) rediscovered his old rhythm and completed the weekend with eighth place in race two on Sunday. Eugene Laverty (Bonovo action BMW Racing Team) was unable to take part in the races after falling during the first practice session on Friday.
Michael van der Mark
Redding showed on Saturday that he now had a better feel for his BMW M 1000 RR than was the case at the season-opener two weeks previously at MotorLand Aragón. He finished the first race in ninth position. The British rider took another step forward in race two on Sunday afternoon. He moved up into fourth place before falling back a little on the final lap. Redding finished the race in fifth. Team-mate van der Mark was competing in his first races of the year after recovering from a leg fracture. After 13th position in Saturday’s race, he gave a convincing performance to claim eighth in the second race on Sunday.
Loris Baz and the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team
The Bonovo action BMW Racing Team had made a good start to the season when Baz finished seventh at Aragón – and continued in that vein at Assen. Baz secured sixth spot in the first race on Saturday, once again providing the team’s best race result in the WorldSBK, as well as claiming the first win for the young team in the Independent Teams classification. Baz finished sixth again in the Superpole race on Sunday morning. However, Baz retired early from race two on Sunday afternoon after taking a tumble. The Bonovo action BMW Racing Team continues to top the Independent standings nonetheless. Baz’s team-mate Laverty was forced to follow the races from the sidelines. After his fall in the first practice session on Friday, severe swelling in his right forearm meant that he was unable to safely control his motorbike.
The third round of the WorldSBK season 2022 will take place from 20th to 22nd May at Estoril, Portugal.
Quotes after the Assen races.
Scott Redding & Michael van der Mark
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “A positive trend was there for all to see, especially today. Of course, some rivals failed to finish, but fifth place for Scott Redding and a very respectable eighth position for Michael van der Mark are results that we can build on. Hats off to Michael for this performance. Unfortunately, Loris Baz fell in race two. He recorded very good results once again in race one and in the Superpole race. Saturday was not an easy day. We were unable to find the right set-up for Scott and Michael was still finding his way back after his injury break. However, we improved as the weekend progressed. Scott now definitely feels better and has a better understanding of the motorbike. It was also a big shame that Eugene was unable to race after his fall on Friday. He will be back strong at Estoril. Overall, it was another weekend of mixed feelings, but we will take these positive race results to the next round and continue in this direction at Estoril.”
#45 Scott Redding
“In race two there was the crash between Jonathan and Toprak in front and the pace slowed down a little bit. That gave me the chance to get back into the group and then I was just hanging in, giving pretty much 110 per cent every lap to be there. I think you can also see it if you watch the race that I was trying everything. Then in the last three, four laps, I got a hole in the tyre on the right side so I had no grip. That was sad really because I feel that I deserved the fourth place because I really rode hard and good. But it’s okay. To finish with a top-six result – it was P5 then due to another rider’s penalty – I am happy with that. But we still need to do more. I am riding on the limit and I am still 15 seconds behind in a race that felt good for me. We can be happy that we had a good result for us but we still need to work, that is the main thing for me. I want to win. This for me is okay, but it is not what I want and I think we can get there. Hopefully we can find something that can give us half a second – that is what we are looking for in general to make the next step.”
#76 Loris Baz
“It was of course great to finish sixth in yesterday’s first race. Also the Superpole race was good despite the fact that I made a terrible start. I was 15th in turn one but managed to come back to sixth. It was really fun race, a really aggressive one. That was good and I secured sixth on the grid for race two, but it was again a really difficult start; we struggle a lot to launch the bike at the moment. I lost the rear going into turn one, touched Nozane and he crashed while I went straight. I am really sorry for him because that is a kind of thing I of course don’t like. Then I was last so I was pushing hard to come back and I lost the front in a fast turn. But that’s how it it. I am sorry for the team and the guys but I was trying hard to bring the bike back into my group where I was fighting all weekend. It’s a shame but overall I am happy with the hard job we have been doing all weekend and how I was riding the bike. We need to solve some things again to improve for Estoril but, yes, we try again next time!”
#60 Michael van der Mark
Michael van der Mark
“I am really happy with the weekend. Yesterday and in today’s Superpole race it was about getting back into the rhythm. I knew that I did not have the speed to fight in the top ten. Then in race two I had a good pace, a lot better than yesterday and I had some nice battles. I was in a group with Vierge and Mahias and in the last two laps I was able to pull away a little bit from them so I finished eighth. I am really satisfied with this weekend. We came without any expectations, we just wanted to ride the bike. I think I have never been so happy with a 13th and a eighth place.”
#50 Eugene Laverty
“I’m very disappointed to have to watch the races from the sidelines after my mistake in FP1. I tried to ride again in FP3 but it was clear that I had no power in my right arm to ride safely. My team have been very supportive and that motivates me highly to return to Estoril at 100%. Thank you also to the marshals and medical staff who do a top job here at Assen. I was always in good hands.”