Eazi Grip

Eazi-Grip supported BMW World Superbikes report from Navarra


The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team today returned to the picturesque Circuito de Navarra in Northern Spain for the 7th Round of the FIM World Superbike Championship. This mornings FP1 session saw the BMW pairing of Tom Sykes and Michael van der Mark both finish inside the top 12 places onboard their BMW M 1000 RR’s.

Temperatures soared from the morning’s session going into FP2 with track temperatures reaching 45°C + meaning only a handful of riders managed to better their times set from FP1. Tom Sykes remained in P9 with his best combined lap time of a 1’38.536. Teammate Michael van der Mark was just two tenths behind Tom, putting him in P11 overall.

Shaun Muir – Team Principal

“I think we made a good step forward from the last time we were here at the test. This was something we were really interested to see as we knew when we left Misano we were not so strong, so to come here and be strong has confirmed this. Tom and Michael are 0.5 and 0.7 seconds from the front so it is really close on lap times. On race simulation we are clear which tyres we are going to run, which is good. We will go into FP3 in the morning with a very clear direction with some fine tuning to do over night. So, all in all a solid day and I’m looking forward to the race and qualifying.”

Tom Sykes

“It’s not been a bad day. We have been understanding the package off the back of a test in Catalunya and we understood a few of the parameters. This afternoon in the hotter conditions we really looked at some of the tyre selection that Pirelli have brought here. I was overall happy with our consistency and the pace at the end on used tyres. Hopefully now we have got a lot of information of that and overnight we will now make some fine adjustments and try again tomorrow. It is looking like it is going to be a very hot weekend so hopefully we can maintain that pace from FP2.”

Michael Van Der Mark

“It’s not been a bad day. We have been understanding the package off the back of a test in Catalunya and we understood a few of the parameters. This afternoon in the hotter conditions we really looked at some of the tyre selection that Pirelli have brought here. I was overall happy with our consistency and the pace at the end on used tyres. Hopefully now we have got a lot of information of that and overnight we will now make some fine adjustments and try again tomorrow. It is looking like it is going to be a very hot weekend so hopefully we can maintain that pace from FP2.”


The first race day of the debut FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) event at Navarra, Spain, has come to an end. Tom Sykes (GBR) from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team gave a strong performance in Saturday morning’s Superpole on his BMW M 1000 RR, claiming third place to secure a spot on the front row of the grid. Sykes finished the afternoon’s race in sixth position. His team-mate Michael van der Mark (NED) crossed the line in seventh. Jonas Folger (GER) from the Bonovo MGM Racing team was also in the points, finishing 14th.

1:36.546 minutes was the lap time recorded by Sykes in the morning’s Superpole qualification. That enabled him to take the lead for a brief period before finishing the 15-minute session with third place, on the front row of the grid secured. Van der Mark ended the hard-fought qualifying session in tenth position. Folger qualified in 14th place. A special surprise lay in wait for van der Mark on the grid later when BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers and Shaun Muir, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team Principal, presented the new father with a BMW Babyracer.

Air temperatures had already reached 24 degrees Celsius by late morning, climbing to over 30 degrees by the time the race began. Sykes fell back a little in the turmoil at the start but then maintained sixth position for the duration of the 23-lap race. He was within striking distance of the top five for some time, but the gap then grew larger. Van der Mark was able to get into eighth before moving up to seventh on lap seven, where he remained until reaching the finish line. Folger dropped back after losing ground at the start, however he moved up to 14th as the race progressed to secure a points finish.

Shaun Muir – Team Principal

“I was really pleased with FP3 in the morning when Michael set a quick pace very early so he had a good run of laps and was confident going into Superpole. Equally Tom found a good set-up as well and was pretty happy so we quickly confirmed the tyre choice for the rear tyre. In Superpole, Tom as usually did a great job putting it on the front row in the top-three. He made good use of his qualifying tyre. We used a slightly different strategy for Michael; he ran one exit with the ‘X’ tyre and then changed to the ‘Q’ tyre. It worked really well and it was a much improved performance compared to Most. Okay, tenth place was not where we wanted to be but it was an improvement. In the race, Tom settled into a race pace which was pretty much where he was at the end of the race. He could not gain much advantage but settled into a good rhythm. Michael got stuck behind a couple of riders and lost four, five seconds on the opening few laps. Once he got by and settled into it, he could not bridge the gap. Both riders struggled with the front in the heat. Overall, we can’t be too dissatisfied with sixth and seventh. 20+ seconds off the win is not where we want to be but we will try to close that gap tomorrow.”

Marc Bongers – Motorsport Director

“Sixth and seventh in the race – that corresponds to where we are at the moment. Our pace was clearly better in this morning’s practice. The temperatures kept climbing though as the race approached. We had already struggled with that in practice yesterday. Tom did very well in qualifying to secure a great third place. He established himself in sixth position relatively quickly in the race and was able to maintain that. Michael had a relatively good qualifying session. He finished tenth but was just a tenth of a second away from fifth. In the race, he lost a few seconds again during the first laps. Our aim for tomorrow should be fifth place instead of sixth and seventh. It is important for us to deliver a strong performance tomorrow in the Superpole race, with the aim of reaching the top five. That is realistic for us this weekend.”

Tom Sykes

It was not too bad. We had a good qualifying and starting from the front row is always a nice target. Coming off the start, another rider came by me and almost took my handle bar so I had to close the gas and a Kawasaki had gone by. So the first lap wasn’t very good and then, to be honest, behind Alex Lowes on the first couple of laps, it was just a bit too steady so I need to have a look at that for tomorrow. I need to try to get a better start and first couple of laps but after that I just settled into the rhythm that we found yesterday afternoon. It looks like everyone was suffering a little bit more today because the times were slower than yesterday afternoon. I really struggled with the front end of the bike with the turning and some of the rear traction so for sure it was a difficult race to manage. We had to change the way to approach some corners et cetera and try to find a way to ride around those problems so we’ve got a lot of work to do tonight and hopefully we can improve the set-up for these hot conditions tomorrow.”

Michael Van Der Mark

To be honest, I was expecting a lot more. This morning, we made a huge step in performance and in lap time consistency. Also in Superpole, we’ve made a good step. I was tenth but the gap to P5 was really close. I was happy with that, but in the warmer conditions in the race the bike just did not react like in the cooler conditions. It’s normal but I struggled too much so we need to find a solution for tomorrow.”


BMW Motorrad Motorsport has rounded off the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) race weekend at Navarra (ESP) by meeting the objective of securing a top five result for the BMW M 1000 RR. Tom Sykes (GBR) from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team claimed fifth spot in race two on Sunday afternoon. His team-mate Michael van der Mark (NED) was classified in ninth.

Sykes started the Superpole race in the morning from third place. He fell back a little at the start, taking the chequered flag in sixth after ten laps. Van der Mark improved from tenth on the grid to ninth and moved up to seventh for a while, before losing a place and crossing the line in eighth position.

Sunday saw a repeat of the previous day’s high temperatures and the start of race two was delayed by ten minutes after a rider experienced some issues on the grid. The lights went out at 14:10. After a hard-fought first lap, Sykes and van der Mark had moved up from sixth and eighth into fourth and fifth positions. However, Andrea Locatelli (ITA, Yamaha) was able to pass van der Mark on lap three and overtook Sykes one lap later. That put Sykes in fifth place, and he maintained that top five position to the finish line after 22 laps. Van der Mark was seventh for a large part of the race, but lost a place in the closing stages and took the chequered flag in eighth position. After the race, van der Mark was demoted by one place for exceeding track limits on the final lap.

Navarra hosted the seventh round of the 2021 WorldSBK season. The racing continues in two weeks at Magny-Cours, France, from 3rd to 5th September.

Shaun Muir

“It was a good step of improvement from yesterday. Tom rode very well today; he dug really deep and withstood a lot of pressure from Alex in the feature race and improved his overall race finish by six or seven seconds from yesterday. Tom will be pleased with his performance; we certainly are. A big shout out for him for that one. Michael just kind of never got comfortable with the bike on the bumpy circuit with a lot of front end chatter problems. He did well in his Superpole Race to move up a row so that was good for his start. I think he could have matched the pace of Alex and Tom in front of him but he just had a couple of moments and it prevented him from keeping that fifth, sixth, seventh position. Overall, it was not bad, improvement from yesterday, we still have some work to do but we can’t be too disappointed, so we can go away pretty happy.”

Marc Bongers

“That was not an easy weekend for us, but we did manage to finish all three races with Tom and Michael in the points. We didn’t do as well as expected in the Superpole race this morning in the cooler conditions, however we did manage to claim sixth and eighth on the grid. That was certainly an improvement compared to the most recent races for Michael. It then paid off in the second race. After both made a good start, we were in fourth and fifth positions. Tom then fell back to fifth place but did some great defending against Alex Lowes. Michael certainly had more of a battle on his hands but compared to yesterday we closed the gap to the leaders by seven seconds. That’s still not enough but it’s going in the right direction. In the heat today, they both chose a different front tyre to yesterday, which will have made the biggest difference – and now we have to learn from that for the next high-temperature events coming up in Spain and Portugal.”

Tom Sykes

“It was not a bad weekend. With the high track temperatures, it was definitely a challenging weekend. For the engines and for the riders, this kind of temperatures got to the limit in the afternoon race. Overall we have been trying to improve the set-up of the bike, certainly since as well the hot test in Catalunya, but still we had some limitations. We had some big problems in the race and we tried two different solutions from the tyre but I had some limitations in some different aspects to be fair. Even in race two I had some issues with turning and understeer, also rear traction. I just worked hard to try to managing the bike on brake pressure, in throttle openings and tried to make the best race I could. I had a lot of pressure throughout the race but we were able to deal with this. The best was lap one. We struggled to get a run on anyone this weekend but there was a bit of confusion between Alex Lowes and Andrea Locatelli and going into the turn at the end of the back straight that was a good opportunity for me so I took that and that gave me a good track position for the rest of the race.”

Michael Van Der Mark

“It was a tough Sunday. In this morning’s Superpole race I struggled quite a lot with the front end of the bike. I just couldn’t attack anyone or stay with anyone so I was a bit disappointed but anyway, I gained a few starting positions for race two. I then had a good start but I immediately felt that I was losing at the exits compared to the others so I tried to push more on the front but I didn’t feel good and it was quite a long and tough race. We need to improve that but at least we got some points, we always keep trying and I am looking forward to Magny-Cours now.”

Posted on Monday, August 23rd, 2021 in News

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