The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team kickstarts the penultimate round of the 2021 season in Argentina
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team today welcomed a return to the San Juan Villicum circuit in Argentina for round 13 of the FIM Superbike World Championship. Free Practice 1 was delayed this morning due to technical issues however track action soon resumed with Michael van der Mark setting the pace in the early stages of the session, despite the sandy conditions. As the grip improved throughout the opening session, the lap times did, too. Michael went on to put himself in P13 (1’40.138) with Eugene Laverty placing in P17 (1’41.288) at the end of FP1.
In the second and final free practice session of the day, both BMW Motorrad riders improved on their lap times set from this morning. Michael van der Mark on his BMW M 1000RR finished in P14 (1’39.323) with Eugene Laverty just behind him in P15 (1’39.526) on combined results.
Shaun Muir – Team Principal
“FP1 And FP2 has been difficult for us today, especially for Michael. He was pretty quick for the opening 20 minutes of FP1 when the track was dusty but couldn’t make much of an improvement as the session went on. We made some minor changes between FP1 and FP2 but we didn’t see any benefits from that and couldn’t seem to get him moving in the right direction. The guys have unanimously agreed that we need to have a rethink on everything tonight.
Eugene had a reasonable start and in actual fact he is probably the happier of the two riders at the moment. Even after FP2 he got a good benefit from the SCX tyre which he put in for the last 15 minutes and set his fastest lap on. He felt there was improvements with that so he is feeling in better condition at the moment. Both riders need to make steps tomorrow. I think a good night sleep and some hard work overnight from the mechanics and crew chiefs and the guys will find some setting and FP3 will be better.”
Michael Van Der Mark
“It’s been a bit of a struggle today; we have seemed to find some limitations on the BMW M 1000 RR. This morning we went out and the track was a bit sandy, but we kept riding to clean the track and ended up using only one set of tyres the whole session, so we were expecting a little more in FP2. We seemed to struggle to get the bike to turn and missed some flow around this circuit. We have a lot of things to improve for tomorrow but I’m pretty sure the boys will be on it.”
“FP1 this morning was a difficult practice as the track was dirty, so it was a case of lapping laps to clean the surface. I was happy with our performance in FP2, I felt more comfortable on the bike and was riding much better after we made some changes. We still need to work on the agility of the bike around the twisty corners and that’s the goal for tomorrow.”
WorldSBK at San Juan: top 6 result for Michael van der Mark in Saturday’s race
The first race of the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) Argentina round ended with a top six result for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. Michael van der Mark (NED) completed race one at the ‘Circuito San Juan Villicum’ (ARG) in sixth place with his BMW M 1000 RR. Eugene Laverty (IRL), standing in again for Tom Sykes (GBR), was also on track for the top eight before falling back to 13th position during the closing stage of the race. San Juan is hosting the penultimate round of the 2021 WorldSBK season.
In Superpole on Saturday morning, van der Mark qualified seventh with Laverty in twelfth. At the start, van der Mark shortly fell back but soon was back to seventh while Laverty moved up three positions to exit the first turns in ninth. Laverty then moved up to eighth on lap five, right behind van der Mark. The two BMW riders remained in those positions until Laverty fell back to tenth around the halfway point of the race. Van der Mark closed the gap to the top six and claimed sixth spot on lap eleven, and that was the position he was in when taking the chequered flag after 21 laps. Meanwhile, Laverty fought with blunt weapons and crossed the line in 13th position.
Shaun Muir – Team Principal
“Saturday has been a much better day than FP1 and FP2 on Friday. Both Michael and Eugene have made big steps forward as we expected from Friday’s performance. In Superpole, Michael only narrowly missed out the second row and Eugene did great job to get on the fourth row in twelfth position from where he had started the weekend so going into race one, both guys were in a much happier situation. I think the bikes are very alike in set-up which is something that we strive towards. Going into the race, both guys felt very comfortable. Mostly the entire grid selected the same rear tyre, the SCX which proved to be the only tyre suiting for these conditions. Mickey had a solid race. From seventh position he battled to sixth. From there he could not improve position despite the fact that his fastest lap of the race came at the very end. This showed that we have a good basis to work on overnight. In the last five or six laps, Mickey was first or second quickest on track but it just was not possible for him to further improve from sixth position. It was a great effort from him and clearly fourth to sixth is the target for tomorrow. Eugene just fell back a little bit towards the end of the race. Before, he was in a good position in a good group of riders but as the fuel load went down, the balance of his bike changed and he was not that comfortable anymore. We will work on that for tomorrow. Overall, it was a not too-bad day. Obviously, we are striving for more but generally we can say that race one was successful for both riders and we are looking forward to the Superpole race and race two.”
Michael Van Der Mark
“We have made a big step forward yesterday morning in FP3 compared to Friday. I was happier with the bike. We made a small change during the session and it was alright. Superpole was quite good; starting seventh on the grid was okay. I did not have a great start, but got into a rhythm and passed some guys. It was a long and a bit of a boring race. I had some small battles but had some limitations trying to pass people but in the end I think sixth isn’t that bad. Now we have to find some small improvements on the bike and we will be fine for Sunday.”
“Superpole went quite well for me. I managed to qualify twelfth and was happy with the lap time that I did with the qualifying tyre. Also the beginning of the race went well. I made a good start and overtook some guys. After a few laps I was up in eighth position. With a full tank of fuel, the bike was feeling very good but unfortunately once the fuel load went down the bike became very difficult for me and I was struggling towards the end so we need to re-balance the bike to make it better for whenever the fuel tank goes empty. That’s the plan for Sunday and I am confident that it won’t be such a big job and that we will be a little bit stronger towards the end of the races.”
Fifth and sixth places for Michael van der Mark on WorldSBK Sunday at San Juan
Having already claimed sixth spot in Saturday’s race at San Juan (ARG), Michael van der Mark (NED) reached the top six again in both races on Sunday. The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team rider secured fifth place in the morning’s Superpole race and then crossed the line in sixth once again in the main race on his BMW M 1000 RR. Eugene Laverty (IRL) completed Sunday’s races in 15th and 16th positions. San Juan was hosting the penultimate round of the 2021 season in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK).
Van der Mark began Sunday morning’s Superpole race from sixth place. He fell back a little during the opening laps and was eighth on lap three, wedged into a tight group. Van der Mark prevailed over his rivals in the second half of the race, working his way up to fifth and that was the position in which he crossed the line after ten laps. Laverty began the Superpole race from twelfth place. He moved up to tenth after a good start before losing two positions again as the first lap progressed. He remained in twelfth until the penultimate lap before slipping back down to fifteenth.
In the second main race, van der Mark made a good start and battled away in fifth place in the leading group. He was applying pressure on the riders ahead as he aimed for fourth place. however he lost a place towards the halfway point of the race and fell back to sixth. Nonetheless, van der Mark remained in touch but the gap to the top five stretched out a little on the closing laps. He was never in danger of losing sixth position before crossing the line after completing 21 laps. Laverty endured a difficult second main race. He started from eleventh place and fell back to 17th during the opening laps. Laverty did gain one position on the penultimate lap, crossing the line in 16th place.
The season finale for the WorldSBK 2021 will take place from 19th to 21st November at the new Mandalika circuit in Indonesia.
Shaun Muir – Team Principal
“A great result today from Michael on the BMW M 1000 RR. From where we started on Friday to where we finished today has been fantastic hard work from him and his crew and a testament to the steps that we have taken. We never quite got the chance for the podium today but a fifth and two sixth-places in the three races is a great reward for the hard work. To finish eight seconds behind the winner and just a couple of seconds off the podium in today’s main race just shows how much improvement we have made with the bike so it was great work by Mickey and his team. Eugene unfortunately struggled today. In practice, he and Michael rode together and they swapped places to see where Eugene had issues but it seems that we could not transfer that into comfortable settings so Eugene was struggling both in the Superpole race and in the main race. It is a shame for him as he had deserved much better results than these. Thanks to Eugene for stepping in for Tom at the last three rounds. Now we are looking forward to Tom’s return in Indonesia.”
Michael Van Der Mark
“It has been a good Sunday. This morning in warm-up, we tried something different with the bike but in the end we weren’t really sure so we went back to yesterday’s set-up. In the Superpole race, I had a good race, I had fun and enjoyed it a lot. I had some good battles and was pretty fast, faster than yesterday. It was nice to start from fifth on the grid for race two. I had an okay start and was in the group fighting for the podium. To be honest, in the beginning I was struggling a bit with the full fuel tank. Towards the end of the race I was alone but I was riding a good pace and it was nice to see what we can do. I think that it has been an overall good weekend. We take some good points home and it was nice to be able to fight with the guys for the podium today in race two but for sure we need to be a little bit faster.”
“Altogether, from my side, it has been a very tough weekend. I struggled to make progress. We changed the bike to improve my feeling and we never made any major breakthrough. Also in the last race to finish outside the points after giving my everything over the entire race was a bitter pill to swallow so I am disappointed with my performance. All the guys in the team deserved a better result but unfortunately I wasn’t able to deliver it. Thanks for this great opportunity to be in the team for these three rounds. I am just disappointed with myself that I could not do more.”