Argentina: Ups and downs in the foothills of the Andes.
San Juan. There were plenty of ups and downs for BMW Motorrad Motorsport during the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) race weekend in San Juan, Argentina. The tenth round of the season took place in the foothills of the Andes. Scott Redding from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team performed well in Superpole and was the best BMW rider in both main races, but endured a difficult Superpole race. His team-mate Michael van der Mark started from further back and recorded top ten finishes in both main races. In Superpole, Loris Baz delivered the best qualifying result thus far for the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team, but suffered bad luck in both main races. Team-mate Eugene Laverty finished the final race on Sunday afternoon as the best Independent rider.
Scott Redding & Michael van der Mark
Redding was fifth in Superpole qualification on Saturday afternoon, while Baz finished sixth to ensure a first second-row start for the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team. Qualification proved trickier for van der Mark and Laverty, as they finished in 14th and 18th positions.
Redding was in the leading group for the first half of race one, only to fall back a little and cross the line in seventh place. Van der Mark battled his way up from 14th to tenth position. Laverty also made up four places to finish 14th. Baz struggled throughout the race, able to rejoin the race after a fall in the closing phase, but finished outside the points in 16th. On Sunday afternoon, Baz then extended his sequence of ninth-place finishes in the Superpole race, crossing the finishing line in that position as the best BMW rider. Van der Mark was eleventh. Redding started from fifth position but fell back considerably and crossed the line in 14th, with Laverty 18th.
In the second main race on Sunday afternoon, Baz was initially the best-placed BMW rider in the leading group, only to take a tumble on lap two after being hit by another rider. The Frenchman was able to re-join the race but could not improve on 17th place. After starting from tenth place, Redding gave a consistent performance to finish ninth. Van der Mark was just one place behind him, reaching the top ten in a main race once again. Laverty started from 18th and moved up several positions as the first lap progressed. After 21 laps, he crossed the finish line as the best Independent rider in eleventh place.
The 2022 season ends with the two overseas events in Mandalika, Indonesia (11th to 13th November) and at Phillip Island, Australia (18th to 20th November).
Quotes after the San Juan races.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “It was a tough weekend. Everyone worked really hard but we still did not manage to build on our podium performances from Donington Park, Most and Magny-Cours. The temperatures and conditions here were very changeable, and unlike our rivals we are unable to deal well and fast enough with these changes. Our package still is too sensitive and so not stable enough to react to conditions and track characteristics without major adjustments. Qualifying went very well, with Scott and Loris on the second row, we had a quite good starting position for the first two races. Scott did manage to finish the two main races in P7 and P9, but that’s not our goal. Scott was the only rider to use the hardest tyre, the SC0, in the Superpole race, as he did not get to grips with the SCX in the morning warm-up. That proved to be a good choice of tyre in race one. It was good to see that Michael is riding consistent races, and that slowly but continuously he is on the way back. Loris really had some bad luck in the second race. Today, he was well on his way to have a strong race, but then he was hit by another rider and fell. I am happy that Eugene was able to finish race two for the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team as the best Independent rider, right behind Scott and Michael. It would be fantastic if he were able to continue in that vein in the final races of his WorldSBK career.”
#45 Scott Redding
“The weekend in general was up and down. We tried to learn some things with the bike, with the setting, but it turned out that it was not better, so for the final race we went back to what we know and the feeling came a bit better. It was a shame because normally I am quite fast here and I could not really show the full potential in the races. In the Superpole race, we had to use the SC0 rear tyre which was not contested by everyone else on the SCX. In the afternoon, we made some changes so I could use the X tyre. I was feeling quite good with the bike but we ran into some brake issues and then I started to struggle. So all in all I’m happy to come from the weekend on a positive note but we need to work a bit more for the next round.”
#60 Michael van der Mark
Michael van der Mark
“The Superpole race was alright. I felt okay, I just could not get past some other guys and ended up P11, so no improvement on the starting grid for race two. In the second race, my start was okay but got stopped in the first couple of corners. We set a quite good pace but I just did not have enough to get close to the guys in front of me and try to pass them. The pace was alright this weekend, we improved quite a lot with the set-up also and I am feeling better and better on the bike. I am feeling how the bike is coming back. So obviously it is not the position we want to finish in but from my side, we had a solid weekend and I think we have improved the bike so I am quite happy.”
#50 Eugene Laverty
“The Superpole race was a disaster honestly, it was the worst race of the year. We had a problem with the rear of the bike and had no rear grip. Then we changed it for the second race and transformed the bike. I’m very happy with the work we did today. It was a nice surprise to be top independent. This result is nice for the entire Bonovo action BMW Racing Team, as they’ve worked so hard all year with not so many results from me, so I’m happy I could finally deliver.”
#76 Loris Baz
“Actually, I’m disappointed. All of us BMWs have been struggling here and I think it was not the easiest track for us, but I think I was riding pretty well all weekend. I did a good Superpole, was struggling yesterday, but we improved the bike this morning. We managed to be in the top nine of the Superpole race. I had a really, really good start in the second race, I was in the top five and then I was just trying to ride gently and not use the tyre. Bassani took me out, so that was over. I restarted, finished 17th, unfortunately no points. Coming to Argentina and all this traveling for one point in the Superpole race is not a big reward, but as a team we did a great job, never gave up all weekend.”