Phillip Island: Curtains up for the 2024 WorldSBK.


Phillip Island. The waiting time is over. BMW Motorrad Motorsport and its two WorldSBK teams are set to begin the 2024 season of the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) this coming weekend (23rd to 25th February). The ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team features new addition Toprak Razgatlioglu as the new teammate of Michael van der Mark. Scott Redding has switched within the BMW family to the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team as the teammate of Garrett Gerloff. Once again, the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit southeast of Melbourne hosts the season opener.

Scott Redding

To conclude the season preparation, both teams and the four factory riders had a test day on Tuesday. This was utilised for fine-tuning the BMW M 1000 RR Superbikes for the first race weekend of the year. Additionally, analysis was conducted on how the new asphalt of the Phillip Island track affects the setup.

The first free practices will take place on Friday. Superpole and race one will follow on Saturday, with the Superpole Race and race two scheduled for Sunday.

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Quotes ahead of the Phillip Island round.

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “The final results of the test day are a bit difficult to assess. The last minutes of the test felt like a qualifying session, but we were consistently up front throughout. That was very encouraging. I believe that in race trim, Michael, Scott, and Garrett will be further up the grid than they are now in the test rankings. Additionally, Garrett faced setbacks due to a few technical issues. Making a prediction for the race is extremely difficult because we definitely have issues with the tyres. We simply can’t sustain them over the race distance. This is not unique to us; it’s a challenge for our competitors as well. There will be discussions with Pirelli in the next couple of days. I don’t anticipate completing the full race distance; there might even be a flag-to-flag race. Since the decision is pending, no predictions can be made. It could either be a highly strategic, tyre-preserving race, or there might be two consecutive sprint races. Overall, it’s gratifying that this is the third consecutive test where we are at the forefront. Our package is working, and I expect strong results without providing a precise prediction.”

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#54 Toprak Razgatlioglu

Toprak Razgatlioglu

“I have to admit that I was really scared before I came here because this is not a track that suits my style. In addition, it was the first time for me to ride here with the BMW M 1000 RR. But I tried to do my best in every session. On this track, you need more grip to ride the bike. The old surface did not offer so much grip but on the new one, I was feeling too much grip and the bike was feeling really good. It was working really well and we made a very good lap time with the SC0 tyre. In general, the bike is working really well with the SC1 tyre and we found a very good set-up. I am happy, but that was just testing and in the last ten minutes, everyone pushed for good lap times, including me. We did a very good one, we finished in P1. This is good but I am focused on the race because I am working for the race and we will see. It looks like it could be a flag-to-flag race because the tyre is destroyed after ten laps, but we will see – in general, I am happy!”

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#45 Scott Redding

Scott Redding

“I am happy that obviously we were able to get the tyres here and actually do some testing because the track surface is quite a lot different so it was good for us to see what is the limit of the tyres, which is quite complicated for everybody at the moment. I’m sure Pirelli and WorldSBK will do the best job they can to make it good for the race weekend. From my side, I enjoy the circuit now with this surface. I really love this track but last year with the track surface and the tyres it was not enjoyable, it was quite scary, but now you can relax and really enjoy the track, which is nice. We did not try too many things, we just worked on bike set-up for me to get confidence and feeling. That was the main goal, just to try and enjoy the bike which I am doing much more now. I am happy. I feel that we’ve got a good enough base that we can fine tune in the race weekend. Now we will go into the first round and see how it goes.”

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#60 Michael van der Mark

Michael van der Merk

“It was nice to finally get out on track here. It is always great to ride this track. I am really enjoying it. The new surface gives a lot of grip and we feel also that the bike has improved a lot over the year. Our main focus was to work on the basis of the bike which is very good. Now Phillip Island is all about tyre life so we tried to find some solution to make the tyre last. It’s not’s easy but we are working on it. At the end of the day I tried to push for a time attack but I had a red flag on my lap. The final position in the standings is not where we want to be but we were on a good lap. I am looking forward to the race weekend, I think that we are quite strong and as I said, it is all about managing the tyres and that what is we have to do.”

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#31 Garrett Gerloff

Garrett Gerloff

“I was really looking forward to ride here around Phillip Island but it has been a tough final test day for us. We had some technical issues that cost us a lot of time and we could not use the test as we had planned. It’s frustrating when you have to sit in the garage while the others are doing their laps, but better we have these issues now and can solve them than if they come at the race weekend. Now we have a couple more days to work and prepare and then we are ready to kick off the season. We have seen that the BMW M 1000 RR can be fast here at Phillip Island, and that makes me confident that we can be back stronger on Friday when we open the weekend with FP1.”

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