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Toprak Razgatlioglu breaks lap record at Portimao in a very productive test for BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team

From Spain, the BMW Motorrad Motorsport WorldSBK teams headed straight to Portugal. At Portimão, the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team and BMW Motorrad Motorsport Test Team continued their preparation for the 2024 FIM Superbike World Championship  (WorldSBK). On Monday and Tuesday, WorldSBK factory riders Toprak Razgatlioglu, Michael van der Mark, Garrett Gerloff and Scott Redding, as well as the factory riders from the Test Team, Sylvain Guintoli, and Bradley Smith, completed an intensive testing programme. In consistently good conditions, they gathered crucial information for further optimisation of the BMW M 1000 RR.

With three teams and six riders, BMW Motorrad Motorsport used the two test days for comprehensive evaluations. Through close data exchange among all teams, important insights were gained for the continuous development of the BMW M 1000 RR. Additionally, the teams and riders fine-tuned the individual setups of their bikes to be as well-prepared as possible for the upcoming season.

The productive days at Portimão marked the last winter test on European soil. The next stop is Phillip Island in Australia in three weeks’ time. Another two-day test will take place on 19th and 20th February, followed by the season opener at the same location from 23rd to 25th February.

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “For sure, to come away with P1 in the list and four riders within the top ten makes me confident to start the season. We had some difficulties in December, namely testing in bad conditions and not having comparables to measure us against. We came to these tests with a good feeling but no proof where we were after the long winter. At Jerez and here at Portimão we luckily found good and stable weather conditions, luckily with most of the paddock being here because we need to know where we stand. We’ve been consistently in the top three with the fastest rider which is pleasing. Now we are packing everything up for Australia, a very different track with a new surface, with harder tyres than what we have used during these tests. So it will be a new situation but we have a lot of positives we can build on. It was also important to see that the setup we brought from Jerez worked immediately here. There are still things to improve, we even see some more potential but I am happy to see how the structure has been build up, I am happy to see how the entire team is working together and I am happy with the results. It makes me look very positively on the season. It will be hard, no doubt; we have seen last year how competitive the field is but we want to be with the competitors at the very top. I am confident that we will be there.”

Christian Gonschor, Technical Director BMW Motorrad Motorsport: “It was interesting and busy test days. The good thing was that we actually had six riders on the track simultaneously, operating up to a total of twelve BMW M 1000 RRs. This benefits us immensely for further development. With this setup, we were able to gather so much data and information that we can now make very rapid progress. I think it’s evident that we are making progress. We were consistently in the top three or top four, with Toprak mostly in first or second place from the first to the last minute in both Jerez de la Frontera and Portimão. It was nice to see our BMW racers always up there. It was also phenomenal to see during both tests that ideas generated in the race teams but not immediately tested were passed on to the test team. This approach is optimal, allowing us to support the race teams effectively. Among other things, we tested applications and provided feedback before the WorldSBK riders tried them. With the test team, we evaluated various chassis elements. Bradley focused intensively on basic topics and couldn’t chase lap times much, but that’s not the core task of a test team anyway. Sylvain pre-tested many things for the racing teams. All bikes were run with the new E40 fuel, which is mandatory in the WorldSBK starting this year. This also proved successful, and there were no technical problems. Overall, we can now travel to Phillip Island with confidence because the collaborative efforts of all involved of the past months are bearing fruit.”

Shaun Muir, Team Principal ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “First of all, I am delighted to have both of my riders in the top end of the time sheet. Mickey has done a fantastic job; he has come back from a lot of injuries in the last couple of years. He is in a really good shape going into Australia. We could not expect any more. Toprak, brand new to the bike in these conditions, really adapted well. We almost completed our test programme; we have still some outstanding items that we carry over to Australia for the two test days but he is really happy, we are happy. It’s still all work in progress and as it sits today, we can board our flights to Australia with a good feeling.”

Michael Galinski, Team Manager Bonovo action BMW Racing Team: “The team has now gelled very well with our new addition, Scott. We are actually quite satisfied overall. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, but we also had a lot to sort out. We did our best for two days. Nevertheless, we have found a good rhythm and can now pack up our bikes and equipment because everything is heading straight to Australia from here. The two test days were quite decent, and now we are looking ahead to Phillip Island, where we have another test and then the first race right away.”

Garrett Gerloff (#31 BMW M 1000 RR, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team): “The test here in Portugal has been a bit up and down. Yesterday I struggled more than I like to admit but we finally found a setting on the last run yesterday that set up today as a really good day. Especially in the beginning of the day I felt really strong and I felt like I had a decent pace. I’m just frustrated with the end of the day. I had a crash and after that we struggled getting both the bikes to work like they should. That’s frustrating a little bit but I know that I have a team that’s on top of it and looking to solve all the problems that we have before the bikes go on the crates to Australia. That’s not the way I wanted to end the test but we still have positive stuff from these days, so that’s good.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (#54 BMW M 1000 RR, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “I have to say that I was also surprised when I saw the 1:39.2 with the SCX tyre. Before, I did a 1:39.8 with the SC0 tyre and then I said to the team, if I am feeling a little more grip with the SCX tyre, we will make a very good lap time. So we did. Then I wanted to try the Q tyre and we got one from the Bonovo team, thanks to them. We tried to do another good lap time with that but the bike setup is completely different and I had the feeling that the bike was just jumping because there was too much grip. But in general I am very happy. After this test, it looks like we are 99 percent ready with the bike. But again, we are still learning, getting better every day. I don’t know how it will be in Phillip Island. We were very strong here on these two days. Also our pace on race tyres is really strong. But Phillip Island is completely different. We will see there, it is impossible to say anything before the race or the test. But in general, this atmosphere is very good, I am very happy and we did a very good job on these two days.”

Scott Redding (#45 BMW M 1000 RR, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team): “Portimão was a lot more difficult than Jerez. We knew that there was a possibility that this could be the case but it is also good sometimes to have this in testing because you have the time to work. We tried a lot of different things and nothing was really hitting the spot. It was a bit of confusion with the tyres and the track grip so that made it a bit time consuming for us. We managed to try some test items which was also important to do. We have a bit more a clear direction with the parts for round one at Phillip Island. After two days we finally made a little bit of progress and it was good to finish knowing you’re making steps. Going to Phillip Island it will be interesting what characteristics the bike will give us. In Jerez everything was running pretty easy, here it seemed quite difficult, so it will be interesting to see what is the outcome of the bike. Regarding the situation of what the track grip gives us we’ve done a lot of work in both areas. I’m looking forward to going to Phillip Island now. I’ve really enjoyed my time here testing with the team, having a lot of fun, laughing a lot and working hard. Now I can’t wait to go racing.”

Michael van der Mark (#60 BMW M 1000 RR, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “I was really happy with the end of the day. Today we changed the setup of the bike, we had some ideas and we changed honestly the whole bike and immediately from the first lap that felt good. At the end of the day we were trying some new tyres, doing some good laps with the SCX and I felt happy. I felt good with the bike so I think I even could have gone a little bit quicker. But I am really happy. I am feeling more and more ready to race. Also doing so many laps in these perfect conditions I gained a lot of confidence again. I feel faster and more ready than last year. I feel that the old Mickey is coming back.”


Posted on Wednesday, January 31st, 2024 in News

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