Top-four for Scott Redding and the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team at the home round at Donington Park.
Donington Park. BMW Motorrad Motorsport made important progress at the sixth round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) at Donington Park. Scott Redding and the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team secured a top-four finish at their home race. Garrett Gerloff and the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team also showed good form. However, the positive results were overshadowed by a serious accident at the start of the second main race. Tom Sykes crashed. Loris Baz and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ducati) subsequently got involved in the incident and also went down. Sykes suffered multiple rib fractures and was taken to the hospital for further examination. Rinaldi also had to get medical treatment. Baz remained uninjured but did not participate in the restart of the second race.
In Saturday morning’s Superpole qualifying session, Sykes was the highest-placed BMW rider in eighth position. However, he had some bad luck in the closely contested session. On his second run, he was on his way to a standout lap time but was slowed by a yellow flag in the final sector. Gerloff followed in tenth place, Redding finished twelfth, and Baz ended Superpole in fifteenth position.
In the first race on Saturday afternoon, Sykes maintained a position in the top-eight until the final lap, while Redding steadily climbed up from twelfth place. Just before the finish line, Redding overtook Sykes, crossing the line in eighth position and achieving his second-best race result of the season. Sykes finished directly behind in ninth place. Unfortunately, the first race didn’t go well for the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team. Gerloff was touched by another rider in the first corner and crashed. Although he initially continued the race after a quick check in the garage, he had to retire prematurely. Baz retired due to a technical issue.
The goal in Sunday’s Superpole race was to improve on the starting positions for the second main race in the afternoon. Gerloff succeeded by working his way up to seventh place, while Redding finished ninth. Sykes was in eighth place until the penultimate lap but then crashed. He resumed the race and finished in 18th position. Baz had an early fall in the race but was also able to continue and crossed the finish line in 23rd place.
After the restart of Sunday’s second main race, Redding initially held eighth position before steadily advancing through the field in the second half of the race. On the 19th out of a total of 22 laps, he moved up to fourth place and successfully defended it until the end. That secured his best race result of the season so far. Gerloff had a great start and held fifth position for a long time but dropped back slightly in the field to finish ninth, securing another top-ten result.
The seventh round of the WorldSBK 2023 will take place from 14th to 16th July at Imola, Italy.
BMW F 900 R Cup in the WorldSBK support programme.
BMW F 900 R Cup
As part of the WorldSBK support programme, the ABK Beer 0% BMW F 900 R Cup made its appearance at Donington Park. The one-make cup, which has its debut season in 2023, offers highly competitive and cost-effective racing. The races take place during weekends of the British Superbike Championship, in addition to the WorldSBK event at Donington Park. The riders compete on identical BMW F 900 R Roadster bikes with 105 horsepower.
The third event of the season’s BMW F 900 R Cup races provided thrilling action. On Saturday, two heats of eight laps each were on the schedule. In the first race, Richard Cooper (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) claimed victory ahead of Thomas Strudwick (Art of Racing) and Barry Burrell (Mallory Performance Racing). In the second race, Nikki Coates (Ernie Coates Track Days/AOR Racing) took the win, followed by Michael Rutter (Bathams Racing) and Christian Smith (SCH Motoprep/Smith Twins Racing). The main race over 14 laps took place on Sunday afternoon. This time, Cooper secured a clear victory, with Strudwick and Rutter completing the podium. The winner’s trophies were presented by Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad.
Reactions to the Donington Park round.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “It was a weekend that we conclude with mixed emotions. The weekend started off difficult due to the unpredictable weather. Both practice sessions on Friday had partly wet conditions, making it challenging to prepare for the races, but that applied to everyone, of course. Even in FP3 on Saturday morning, there were damp patches on the track, and qualifying was more or less the first dry session. We were performing quite well there. Tom had the potential to put the bike on the front row in ‘Tomington’ but he was unlucky with the yellow flag. With the other guys, we didn't immediately find the right setup for the newly resurfaced track due to the lack of time in the practice sessions, however we had a stable pace with good results in the first race. Therefore, we started Sunday with confidence. Garrett also showed a good and consistent performance in the Superpole race, improving to seventh place. Tom also gave a strong performance with stable lap times but had a small slide. As a result, Scott took ninth place. We had a good pace in this race as well.
The second main race started with Tom’s terrible crash, which subsequently affected Loris and Michael Ruben Rinaldi. It has just been confirmed that Tom has multiple rib fractures. He is currently undergoing further examinations in the hospital. We wish him a speedy recovery, and at this point, as BMW Motorrad, we would also like to send our best wishes to Michael. Fortunately, Loris was relatively okay after the accident, but he had fallen on his head and decided not to participate in the restart. Garrett had a very good start but then dropped back a bit. Scott grew stronger throughout the race, ploughed through the field, and in an extremely exciting battle, especially against the Kawasakis, secured a very strong fourth place. Just under two seconds behind, Garrett crossed the finish line in ninth place. These are pleasing results, especially with fourth place not far from the podium. We will carry this positive momentum with us to Imola.”
#45 Scott Redding
“Today has been pretty good. Warm up wasn’t the best for me so I thought it is going to be a hard day. The Superpole race was not bad and I finished ninth. I needed to be up there for race two. You saw the difference it makes as I had a good start. Unfortunately there was this accident, so I send my wishes to Tom and Michael. At the re–start, I got through pretty cleanly, and I do generally struggle at the start of the race to go with the front guys a little bit more. Then I thought to just keep the pressure on because I knew I come stronger. I was believing in myself to come better in the end. I had Petrucci in front and he was a bit faster so I could not get him but I got the Yamaha and I got the Kawasakis and just pushed until the end. It would have been nice to have a podium but to have a ride like that after such a difficult season is great.”
#31 Garrett Gerloff
“I was really, really happy in the Superpole race. The bike felt so good for the first time this weekend. We’ve been playing with some different settings and finally on Sunday in the Superpole race everything felt super good. So, I was able to finish in the top nine places in seventh position. That was really positive for myself and the whole team. In race two, I got a great start after the red flag and was in fifth place. I felt so good, then I just struggled to maintain the pace. I was fighting with some arm fatigue. It wasn’t arm pump, I was just losing strength in my arm and that made it difficult to be consistent. I made a couple of stupid mistakes and people passed me, but in the end I was still with the group with Scott and the other guys. That was super positive and I’m very happy about that. We’re getting closer and closer and I know we’re going in a good direction. This is what makes me happy and I’m really excited for the next round at Imola.”
#76 Loris Baz
“Unfortunately, there is not so much to say about today. First of all, I want to send my best wishes to Tom and Michael. I hope they are ok. It was so scary! I’m just glad that I didn’t hit Tom. There was just nothing I could have done. The consequence could have been much worse. We’ve just been lacking luck all weekend with some technical issues, rain and all the problems. I couldn’t do more than six, seven laps in a row, so it was hard for me to keep the pace and I felt I was running behind. I tried to catch back the speed during the whole weekend. I’m just disappointed, as Donington is a track that I really like and I felt the BMW could do well. Garrett and Scott have shown that in race two. Now, I’m just trying to get some sleep, because I have a big headache from the crash. Now we’ll regroup and start again from Imola. Thanks to all the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team guys for the hard work again. We try harder than anyone and we will try harder next time. We’ll stay strong.”