WorldSBK: Top six finishes to conclude the Indonesia weekend.
Mandalika. BMW Motorrad Motorsport has concluded the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) race weekend in Mandalika in Indonesia with two top six finishes. After a difficult Saturday, Scott Redding from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team claimed sixth position in both Sunday’s Superpole Race and race two. In the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team, that lined up on the Mandalika International Street Circuit for the first time, Loris Baz secured a top ten finish in Saturday’s race one.
Michael van der Mark
Enormous heat and a relatively large amount of dirt on the track off the line made the weekend a huge challenge for all teams and riders. In the Superpole qualification, held on Saturday morning, Redding claimed eighth position on his BMW M 1000 RR. His team-mate Michael van der Mark was 11th. Baz finished qualifying in 15th place and his team-mate Eugene Laverty who, like Baz, was racing at the Indonesian track for the first time, qualified 20th.
In race one, van der Mark was initially the best-placed BMW rider. After an excellent start, he had made his way up to sixth place, however, in the fight for a top six result, he crashed a few laps before the end and retired. Baz secured another top 10 finish, crossing the line in tenth. In order to avoid a contact, the Frenchman went off the track briefly at turn one and dropped back to last place. But he worked his way back up lap after lap. Redding slid off the track in the dirt off the ideal line after the start, also losing many positions, and struggled with the conditions throughout the race. He finished 12th. Laverty scored two points coming home in 14th.
Scott Redding & Eugene Laverty
Redding was then back in the mix in Sunday morning’s Superpole Race, taking the chequered flag in sixth position. He repeated that result in the second main race on Sunday afternoon. Although he lost several positions in the first half of the race and fell back to tenth place, Redding was able to fight his way back up to sixth place in the second part of the race. Van der Mark finished tenth in the Superpole Race and 12th in the second main race. Baz was 12th and 13th in the two Sunday races, while Laverty was 17th and 16th.
WorldSBK now directly heads to Phillip Island in the south of Australia where the 2022 season finale will be held this coming weekend (18th to 20th November).
Quotes after the Mandalika races.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “After the three previous race weekends, where we fell short of expectations, it was good to see a positive trend again, for Scott and also for Michael, and in difficult track conditions. It was very tricky, especially on the first day when there was still very little rubber on the track. It was nice to see Michael find his good feeling again and he produced a very good race yesterday and obviously felt comfortable on the bike. Unfortunately, he had a crash at the end, but the trend was good. Scott didn’t feel comfortable at all in the first race. That wasn’t so much due to the bike but more to the difficult conditions and the many crashes that occurred, especially on corner entries. We changed practically nothing on Scott’s bike for today and he performed very well in both the sprint and the feature race. In terms of lap times, we were much closer to the front than in the last races. Two sixth places aren’t perfect but compared to the last few rounds it’s satisfying. Loris was able to finish in the top 10 again in the first race, but he also struggled with the track conditions. Today, he started the day in a positive mood, but unfortunately had issues with the brakes in the second race. Eugene had a difficult weekend and would have liked to have claimed more than two points yesterday. But now it’s off to Phillip Island for the finale on a track everyone loves. Overall, we have seen a positive trend in Mandalika and we want to take that with us to Australia.”
#45 Scott Redding
“The weekend was difficult with the track conditions, so it was obviously hard for us to set the bike up because the track was changing all the time. Today was better for me. In the Superpole Race, I felt comfortable with the bike, and was able to get a good result. And in the main race this afternoon, I felt pretty good too, but I went off track trying to pass someone, and as a result I lost the front group. I had strong pace at the end of the race, I was catching those ahead, and passed two or three guys. The pace is there but I made another mistake. I am angry at myself for that because the pace was good enough for fourth position and I could have battled with them. But we keep pushing, we keep trying and are looking forward to the next race in Phillip Island.”
#60 Michael van der Mark
Michael van der Mark
“Today’s Superpole Race was alright, I just lost a bit of confidence and didn’t feel as comfortable as yesterday. We didn’t change a lot, but I think with the temperature, the bike reacted a bit more than we expected. So P10 in the Superpole Race, unfortunately no points. Then in race two, I had an okay start but got in a bit of trouble in turns two and three, so I lost a lot of time there. I was trying to catch the guys in front of me, but I didn’t have the same confidence as yesterday and unfortunately had contact from another rider when he pushed me off track, so I lost a lot of time. But at least I scored some points today and got to the finish. Overall, the way I was riding yesterday was like my old self, so I am happy with the weekend as it’s a long time since I had that confidence. Now I am looking forward to Australia. It is a bit weird to have it as the last round but it’s a lovely place to go and one of my favourite tracks in the world. It is a special track, no one really knows what to expect but with the confidence I had this weekend we are going to have some good results there.”
#76 Loris Baz
“It’s hard to be happy to be honest, but I am pleased that we are going to Australia in good shape and not injured, as we saw some crashes here. In the Superpole Race, the target is always to be in the top nine. I knew that it was going to be hard, but I just lost too much time on the first lap and was out of the front group. I think I could have had a decent pace because I had the lap times for it, but I was in too much traffic. It wasn’t too bad compared to where we were on Friday. Race two was okay. We tried a new development set-up for next year to collect more data. The start was good, I was with Michael and then overtook him. But then I got an issue with the brakes into one turn for three laps in a row, I went completely straight on and lost almost six seconds there. At that point, I lost focus a bit and it was hard to push. The two guys in front of me pulled away, and I had a big gap behind, so I didn’t want to risk it all, I just tried to collect info for the guys, bring it home and not get injured before the next round. I can’t be happy, but I feel that we improved today, and we were fast in the first laps of race two. So, we keep that in our minds and go to the best track in the world.”
#50 Eugene Laverty
“The Superpole Race was reasonable, I made progress but in race two in the higher temperatures, I struggled with the front tyre and with the brakes. Not to score a point is difficult to accept because I pushed to get at least one point. That would have been worth the effort but to be 16th after so much effort was tough. But we forget this weekend and move on to Australia for one of my favourite tracks, Phillip Island.”