WorldSBK: Challenging weekend at Barcelona.
Barcelona. After three consecutive podium weekends, the eighth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) at Barcelona proved to be more difficult for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. The most consistent BMW rider was Loris Baz from the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team. In the three races, he secured one eleventh-place and two ninth-place finishes with his BMW M 1000 RR. His team-mate Eugene Laverty returned to the top ten in race one. Scott Redding from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team finished eighth in the Superpole race to record the best BMW race result of the weekend, only to take a tumble in both main races. His team-mate Michael van der Mark endured a similarly challenging weekend with technical problems and a fall too, before he scored points for finishing 13th in race two.
All four BMW riders struggled in Superpole qualification on Saturday morning. Redding qualified 13th, with Baz 14th, Laverty 16th and van der Mark in 19th position. In race one on Saturday afternoon, both Bonovo action BMW Racing Team riders went on the hunt for a top ten finish. Laverty passed Baz on the penultimate corner to finish tenth, equalling his previous best result of the season. Baz crossed the line right behind him in eleventh place. Race one did not go according to plan for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team as Redding fell and van der Mark retired with a technical issue.
The weekend continued with the Superpole race on Sunday morning, which determined the top nine grid positions for race two. Redding and Baz produced some great racing as Redding finished eighth and Baz secured the crucial ninth position. Laverty was 14th, while van der Mark suffered more bad luck, forced to return the bike to the pits early after a fall. Baz was ninth in the second main race on Sunday afternoon, recording another top ten finish for the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team. Van der Mark finished 13th to round off a difficult weekend in the points, followed closely by Laverty in 14th place. Redding fell at the start of the race, but was able to soon return to the pits after being examined in the medical centre.
Round nine of the WorldSBK season will take place in two weeks (7th to 9th October) at Portimão.
Quotes after the Barcelona races.
Michael van der Mark & Eugene Laverty
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “It was a very mixed weekend for us with a few retirements, some of which came about as a result of falls. We were definitely unable to meet our own expectations. Scott fell twice in the main races. He had a relatively good Superpole race which made us a bit more optimistic. If you look at his times, the top eight would have been possible for him in race two. Michael also had a very difficult weekend with a defect in the first race and a fall in the Superpole race. That made it difficult to work on the setup and achieve more in race two. We’ll analyse it now and see what insights we can gain. The Bonovo action BMW Racing Team overcame the challenges here well. The objective for the team this season is reaching the top ten, and they achieved that in all three races. However, the gap to the leaders is too large for everyone and we have to work on that. At Portimão, we will be right back where we belong.
Our race weekend was overshadowed by Friday's news that BMW rider Leon Langstädtler died in an accident during the IDM practice session at Hockenheim. The whole BMW Motorrad Motorsport family is devastated by what has happened. I would like to express our sincerest condolences to the Langstädtler family, Leon’s friends and team, and everyone who was close to him. Our thoughts are with them at this time.”
#76 Loris Baz
“It was a tough weekend for us. We had some small issues. I had a good Superpole race, a big fight with Gerloff and Scott (Redding); it was really nice. We improved the start position for race two, which was good. We’ve just tried to use the information we gathered yesterday, not to use too much of the tyre. I was not too far behind the Honda and I saved the tyre just to make sure to have some good last laps. Unfortunately, five laps to the end, I had a problem with my rear brake that locked for two laps, so I almost pit in, but then it just unlocked by itself and I managed to pick up the pace again. It wasn’t easy. I’m a bit disappointed, because I finished only one-tenth behind two guys and lost five seconds in those two laps, but it’s like this. We finished three races and collected a lot of data in a track that is very difficult for us. Portimão will for sure be better.”
#50 Eugene Laverty
“P14 today was a disappointing end compared to yesterday’s top ten finish because it was clear that in the long race yesterday, I was able to come forward in the last five laps. Today, in the beginning I tried to push a little bit more because I lost so much in the first laps yesterday, but I think I damaged the tyre a little bit more. While I was still strong during the last laps, I didn’t quite have the rhythm I had yesterday. It could have been another top ten again, but unfortunately, that was all I had to give. Overall, we scored some points and our pace was better than recently, which gives us reason for optimism for the final part of the season.”
#45 Scott Redding
“Today was a little bit better than yesterday when I struggled a lot. We’ve made some changes on the bike overnight and the Superpole race was better for us. We were fighting for sixth position but ended up eighth. Then in the main race in the afternoon, we had to go for the harder option front tyre which I crashed also on yesterday. We put on that tyre again because of the temperatures and we think it was the right way to go. Then I crashed again on the first lap. Overall, I’m okay, a little bit sore on the knee, so I will be fit for the next race, but I’m a little bit disappointed with our performance this weekend but you’ve got to take the bad with the good.”
#60 Michael van der Mark
Michael van der Mark
“It has been a tough weekend. We’ve had too many issues with the bike and also this morning I had a small crash in the Superpole race. But to be fair, I felt really good and strong in that race. I had to serve a long lap penalty. I did it and had a good pace but unfortunately at T7 I got sucked in and I just had to run off the track and crashed. That was a shame because in the Superpole race, I had a good feeling and a good pace. For race two, we knew the race would be long for the tyres so I saved the rear tyre a bit in the beginning, but from the start I didn’t have a good feeling with the front so I couldn’t push as I did this morning. It was a long race, we knew there was a big drop coming, but unfortunately at the end I had such a big drop that I got passed by two other riders. Not easy, not where I want to be but on the other hand I am happy to do a full race distance because this is what I need.”