Saturday at Estoril: The 2020 WorldSBK season finale has started.
Estoril. The 2020 season in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) is approaching its conclusion and the first race of the final weekend at Estoril is over. The two BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team riders, Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty, finished race one on Saturday in tenth and twelfth positions.
The ‘Circuito do Estoril’ is hosting WorldSBK for the first time since 1993. Friday was all about getting to know the idiosyncrasies of the circuit, while Saturday featured another practice session, Superpole qualification and race one.
In Superpole, Sykes and Laverty qualified in tenth and 14th with their BMW S 1000 RRs. Both riders lost places at the start of the race. As the race progressed, they both defended their positions but found it impossible to mount any attacks. Sykes and Laverty both move up after riders ahead of them retired from the race and after 21 laps, Sykes took the chequered flag line in tenth, with Laverty in twelfth.
Quotes after race one at Estoril.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:
“Firstly, congratulations to Johnny Rea. He has seemed untouchable on the way to his sixth consecutive world championship title - very well done! Up to now, our performance has not been satisfactory. Since the first practice session, we have been struggling to adjust to the new circuit. We seem to be unable to leverage our experience from the current season, with most of the familiar circuits providing little grip. We are simply not adjusting to new conditions and new circuits quickly enough at the moment. We will have to work on that for the future, but we have already developed the necessary methodology ahead of this finale. A positive aspect for us is that our lap times were stable throughout the race, however they were too slow to allow us to get involved in the battle for the top places. Not least because of that, we are looking forward to seeing what we can learn from testing on Monday. As part of the preparations for 2021, we will already be using some components for the BMW M 1000 RR to get an idea of the potential. But now we are focusing on Sunday: we are analysing the data from today to put on a better performance in the Superpole race and in race two.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team:
“Today’s Superpole was a bit disappointing. Tom was a few tenths away from a second row start but he could not get the full use out of the qualifying tyre. Eugene struggled getting grip from the rear tyre and ultimately could not post a strong lap time. The race was quite exciting at one point; we got into a good rhythm with Tom and he was bunched up in a group from 5th to around 12th, which was covered by a few seconds, which we felt we could have bagged a top six from that. Generally, we are not happy with a tenth position, but I felt his overall pace was promising and we took some good information away from that. Eugene continued his free practice and qualifying pace and circulated the race relative to those times, which was P12.”
“We got a good start to today’s race one but I just got caught on the outside at T1. We then settled into a good rhythm and it was a shame as P5 was only a few seconds away, but I was at the wrong end of a big group. It’s clear to see that our bike is working really well in some areas, but I was just lacking a little bit today with mechanical grip and engine performance. But it is what is, the game is over for this year and now for me the aim is to get the best results possible and gather the information, blend that together going into the winter test and get to where we need to be next year.”
“This track is tough for us in general. These slow first gear corners are just not suited to our bike, but I did what I could today. We were slow but at least we were consistent and kept within three tenths of my lap time from the start. Regardless of that we gained some good information, I played around with my body position to try give the guys some direction to work in so again we will try something else for tomorrow’s final two races. Our problem is that we are struggling to get the bike stopped and have that punch out of the corners. But we have some ideas, it’s not going to be a miracle overnight but we must make progress.”