Round four of the 2023 WorldSBK: Barcelona preview.
Munich. The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK family has a new addition from Portugal for round four of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) at Barcelona this weekend. Ivo Lopes, who has enjoyed success for several years with the easyRace BMW Team in the Spanish Superbike Championship (ESBK), will stand in for injured BMW Motorrad WorldSBK works rider Michael van der Mark at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. He races alongside Scott Redding for the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team.
26-year-old Lopes was crowned Portuguese Superbike champion in 2019 and became the first Portuguese to win the Spanish Superbike Championship in 2021 – on a BMW M 1000 RR with the easyRace BMW Team. In the 2023 season, he has claimed one victory and two second places from the four ESBK races so far. That puts Lopes top of the table in Spain after the opening two events of the season. Lopes is now set to make his WorldSBK debut at Barcelona.
Michael van der Mark
Van der Mark fractured his left thigh when he crashed out of the second main race at Assen. He was operated on successfully in Groningen and is now committed to the recovery process at home. It is not yet clear when van der Mark will be able to race again. His replacement at any other events he may miss will be announced at a later date.
The ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team attended the Barcelona WorldSBK tests in March. In action back then were Redding, van der Mark and Garrett Gerloff. Loris Baz was unable to take part in the test due to injury to his foot, which he sustained in Indonesia. The Frenchman returned to the grid in Assen.
Quotes ahead of the Barcelona round.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “First of all, we wish Michael a good recovery. It was good to hear that the operation in Groningen was a success. We are in constant contact and he has already made the first small improvements. However, he should take the time he needs to return to full fitness. At the same time, we welcome Ivo Lopes to WorldSBK. We have known Ivo for a long time in the Portuguese and Spanish championships, where he has repeatedly shown what he is capable of on the BMW M 1000 RR. We are pleased to be able to give him the opportunity to go racing in the World Championship. On the whole, we are excited about the Barcelona weekend. The test there at the end of March was very productive. We hope we can back up the progress we saw at Assen, particularly with Scott claiming his best result of the season so far at Barcelona.”
#31 Garrett Gerloff
“I’m really excited for Barcelona. We tested there not long ago and I felt confident with the bike and with the setup so I’m looking forward to hopefully a good weekend. It’s kind of my home race since I live in Andorra. It’s not too far away. I also have my family and friends coming and I’m really excited as I have them coming to a race for the first time ever in WorldSBK, so I’m very excited and hope to have a good weekend.”
#45 Scott Redding
“Barcelona is one of the more difficult tracks for us in the season. We’ve also been testing there this year which is good but so did many other people. We will be just be looking to again improve what is the weak point of our bike and see what we can do. I think that there will be hotter conditions at Barcelona, so obviously a lot comes in with tyres as well. I’m looking forward to getting to Barcelona and going again.”
“I would like to thank BMW Motorrad Motorsport and the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team for the opportunity they are giving me at Barcelona. I have always dreamed of racing in WorldSBK, and that dream is now coming true. I know the Barcelona circuit very well, as I do the BMW M 1000 RR. However, the WorldSBK version of the bike is obviously different to the one I ride in the Spanish championship. I will work very hard at the weekend and give it my all to support the team and BMW Motorrad Motorsport as well as possible. I would like to thank them for the faith they have put in me, and also to wish Michael van der Mark a speedy recovery!”
#76 Loris Baz
“It’s cool now to be able to have a race soon after Assen. I expect to feel much better on the bike than I was at Assen. Those two weeks were a big help for my foot. I feel better and better every day and also, I’m coming back into shape after so many weeks not being able to do anything. Of course, I missed the Barcelona test, which is not ideal, but I felt good on the bike when I jumped on it last time. We know we need to improve the full package, but I was able to go fast pretty soon after my injury. Now I hope missing the test is not making a big impact. I just hope we have more luck than the last couple of rounds, especially with the bike issue we had at Assen. It’s always nice to ride at Barcelona and I hope we can really start our season there after three difficult rounds. I’m looking forward to it.”