Donington Park. BMW Motorrad Motorsport made important progress at the sixth round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) at Donington Park. Scott Redding and the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team secured a top-four finish at their home race. Garrett Gerloff and the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team also showed good form. However, the positive results were overshadowed by a serious accident at the start of the second main race. Tom Sykes crashed. Loris Baz and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ducati) subsequently got involved in the incident and also went down. Sykes suffered multiple rib fractures and was taken to the hospital for further examination. Rinaldi also had to get medical treatment. Baz remained uninjured but did not participate in the restart of the second race.
In Saturday morning’s Superpole qualifying session, Sykes was the highest-placed BMW rider in eighth position. However, he had some bad luck in the closely contested session. On his second run, he was on his way to a standout lap time but was slowed by a yellow flag in the final sector. Gerloff followed in tenth place, Redding finished twelfth, and Baz ended Superpole in fifteenth position.
In the first race on Saturday afternoon, Sykes maintained a position in the top-eight until the final lap, while Redding steadily climbed up from twelfth place. Just before the finish line, Redding overtook Sykes, crossing the line in eighth position and achieving his second-best race result of the season. Sykes finished directly behind in ninth place. Unfortunately, the first race didn’t go well for the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team. Gerloff was touched by another rider in the first corner and crashed. Although he initially continued the race after a quick check in the garage, he had to retire prematurely. Baz retired due to a technical issue.
The goal in Sunday’s Superpole race was to improve on the starting positions for the second main race in the afternoon. Gerloff succeeded by working his way up to seventh place, while Redding finished ninth. Sykes was in eighth place until the penultimate lap but then crashed. He resumed the race and finished in 18th position. Baz had an early fall in the race but was also able to continue and crossed the finish line in 23rd place.
After the restart of Sunday’s second main race, Redding initially held eighth position before steadily advancing through the field in the second half of the race. On the 19th out of a total of 22 laps, he moved up to fourth place and successfully defended it until the end. That secured his best race result of the season so far. Gerloff had a great start and held fifth position for a long time but dropped back slightly in the field to finish ninth, securing another top-ten result.
The seventh round of the WorldSBK 2023 will take place from 14th to 16th July at Imola, Italy.