For the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, the action comes thick and fast over the next few weeks in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK), with three race weekends in a row. First, this weekend (17th to 19th September), is the ninth event of the season at Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona (ESP). The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and its riders Tom Sykes (GBR) and Michael van der Mark (NED) then head south to the Iberian Peninsula. Rounds ten and eleven of the season will then take place at Jerez de la Frontera (ESP) and Portimão (POR).
Circuit de Catalunya hosted WorldSBK for the first time last year. This spring, the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team completed extensive tests at Jerez de la Frontera and Barcelona, where they prepared their BMW M 1000 RRs for the season ahead. The team and Sykes also attended another Barcelona test in hot conditions this August.
Jerez de la Frontera, where round ten of this season’s WorldSBK will take place from 24th to 26th September, has been a fixture on the calendar for many years. The same goes for Portimão on the Portuguese Algarve, venue for the eleventh event of the season from 1st to 3rd October. The triple being held in Spain and Portugal marks the end of the European leg of WorldSBK for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, before the series moves on to the two overseas events in Argentina and Indonesia in October and November.
“At Magny-Cours, the two sides of the garage had different issues but all are working to overcome that. The aim for the next race at Barcelona and the coming triple-header is to build on our test work that we did there in pre-season and recently with Tom also. We are confident we can once again hit the ground running in FP1 with a very good pace. We know that we can be competitive at Catalunya, we have proved that in the past. The temperatures will be pretty high and we know we need to manage that with the bike. Overall, we are keen to be back on track again; it is going to be very hectic and very hard work for the mechanics and the entire team working on three back-to-back races so we need to plan our work very efficiently and we prepare ourselves. I think it will be once again critical that we start FP1 and FP2 and go into qualifying with a very good pace and give ourselves a real chance in the races by qualifying on the front two rows where possible and we are hopeful that we can do that.”
“Some intensive weeks await us in WorldSBK. With three back-to-back race weekends, we have a demanding programme ahead of us. However, we are looking forward to the challenge. Barcelona may still be a relatively new hunting ground in WorldSBK, but we were already able to gather important information there during this year’s tests to have a good base. It was also helpful to get out on the track there in summery conditions in August as we have to expect high temperatures at the next races, especially at Jerez de la Frontera and Portimão. Our goal is to get the triple-header off to a strong start with our M RRs in Barcelona, then to carry the momentum into the remaining races in the south of the Iberian Peninsula.”
“I am really looking forward to the next three rounds of the World Superbike Championship. To be honest, it’s a little bit different approach now; I don’t remember in all of my years racing that we had three back-to-back races so that’s definitely a quite intense part of the championship. It will be three exciting circuits and ones that I really enjoy so starting in Catalunya we can hopefully find a little bit more form and continue the run that we had there the last time we visited. Plus we also had a test there recently to get some more information so I am overall looking forward to the run of these three races and trying to gain many more points for the championship.”
“I always love to ride my race bike and I think we can be still very happy that we can do so many races this year so I am looking forward to the triple-header. In addition, we are going to three of my favourite race tracks in a row, so that’s also not so bad. We tested at Barcelona in spring and it is good to come there again and see where we improved. I think that we have shown at Magny-Cours that we are getting closer to the podium. Of course, I want to fight for the podium and we are getting closer. At Magny-Cours, we were unlucky with a few things but our goal for sure is to fight again for these positions. I think the general package has improved and our goal is to fight for the podium on the coming weekends.”