Start of the European season in WorldSBK: Heading to the ‘Cathedral of Speed’.
Munich. After a break of a few weeks, the European leg of the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) begins this weekend for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. The iconic TT Circuit at Assen will host round three of WorldSBK 2023 from 21st to 23rd April. The races at the ‘Cathedral of Speed’ are a home outing for Michael van der Mark from the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. The headquarters of the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team, in the town of Cuxhaven in northern Germany, is also just two and a half hours down the motorway from Assen.
BMW Motorrad Motorsport has used the break in action to make more progress with the new BMW M 1000 RR. At the end of March, both teams attended tests at Barcelona, where they were able to evaluate various components and set-up solutions. The riders in action were van der Mark and Scott Redding for the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, and Garrett Gerloff for the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team.
Loris Baz was unable to take part in the test, due to the injuries he sustained to his right leg at the second round of the season at Mandalika at the start of March. However, he plans to return to the Assen grid, if the race doctors give him the green light to do so.
Gerloff travels straight to Assen from his native USA. Last weekend, he visited the MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, where he performed a demonstration run on the new BMW M 1000 RR MotoGP Safety Bike.
Quotes ahead of the Assen round.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “The break after the double-header in Australia and Indonesia was a long one, and you get the feeling that the season is now really getting underway. We saw a significant upward trend at Mandalika, but for various reasons were not always able to convert it into corresponding results. We have upped our game again during the break and evaluated various updates for the BMW M 1000 RR. Our goal is to cut the gap to the front-runners again at Assen, and thus to lay the foundation for a strong European season. Assen is something very special – the history, the atmosphere, the passionate fans. There is still some doubt about what weather we can expect, but we have to be prepared for everything. It is great that Loris feels ready for action again after his injuries, and that he will start if the doctors allow it. He will definitely still be impaired, but it is important for us all to also have his feedback for the set-up of the bikes.”
#31 Garrett Gerloff
“I’m really excited to head to Assen this weekend straight from MotoGP at Austin. I had a great weekend at the Grand Prix with BMW, doing some PR stuff, but I’m obviously looking forward to getting back to racing myself. We had a test with the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team at Assen not so long ago and it was really good and productive. I had the feeling we figured out a bunch of stuff that we can use for the race weekend. So, I’m looking forward to it and will just try to go fast.”
#45 Scott Redding
“Assen is a circuit that has been good for us in the past. I did not too bad there last year and hopefully we can improve a little bit. We have had a bit of time off which has been nice to regroup a little bit. Now let’s see what we can do. You never know what the weather will do at Assen, that is always a tricky one, but we will be there to do our best anyway.”
#60 Michael van der Mark
Michael van der Mark
“I am obviously happy to be racing again. It has been a long break since Indonesia but for me it was good to cure my injured fingers. It takes some time and is still not perfect but it will be no problem when riding. So it’s great to race again, especially at Assen in front of the Dutch fans. This year I am much fitter than last year so I am looking forward to it. The weather seems to be perfect so I can’t wait to go fast in front of my home fans.”
#76 Loris Baz
“I was trying everything to be in Assen. I got the final approval from the surgeon on Friday morning, so all is good on this side. Now it’s all about how I’ll feel on the bike and we will see how it’s going to be. For sure, I have a lack of movement on the ankle and the knee, so especially in the right corners, I have to see how it’s going to be. It’s definitely not dangerous at all, there is no risk, at least no more risk than normal. I am training and working as hard as I can with the physio and all the people around me. I’m really looking forward to being in Assen. I really love that track! It would have been a heartbreak for me not to be at Assen. I’ll just do the best I can. If I feel good, I’ll push as hard as I can to go and improve the bike. If the ankle is a bit of a problem on Friday, then we’ll maybe decide to just take it more easy. At the moment it’s very hard to understand what to expect, but I’m just really happy to be back on the bike. It’s been tough six weeks, but we were lucky with the calendar.”