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RennMotorrad is the blog to keep up to date with news and commentary about BMW's racing efforts in World Superbike and MotoAmerica, as well as following events in MotoGP. Local racers running BMWs will also get some love - let us know who you are! Opinions stated in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect policies, positions or practices of BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, BMW Motorrad, BMW NA, BMW AG, or any other organization or corporation.


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Thailand Preview - World Superbike March 12th & 13th

Posted By Chase Hinderstein, Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Previewing this weekend's races in Thailand and the second round for the 2016 World Superbike season, the key word will be HOT! Air temps this weekend in Buriram Thailand will approach 100 degrees Fahrenheit and I can't imagine what track temps will be. Surely the riders will appreciate the new format this weekend, racing once on each Saturday and Sunday, instead of twice in one day. Saturday will be particularly grueling for the riders and teams, as they will have to endure qualifying in the morning before race 1 in the afternoon.

Last year was the Championship's first visit to the circuit and Jonathan Rea finished the weekend with two wins. I'd expect that's a likely repeat this year on the Kawasaki. Chaz Davies will seek to challenge again of course, but his Ducati may not perform as well here as it did in Australia as the heat can be a problem for the Italian bike and the circuit doesn't seem to suit the Welsh rider. Tom Sykes may provide the best challenge on his own Kawa. Historically Sykes doesn't show well in Australia but then his true colors show in the following matches. 

Last year's races also had strong showings from the now defunct Aprilia team. Leon Haslam took 2nd in both races but he's competing in British Superbike this year. His teammate the Spanish Elvis Jordi Torres took 4th in both races, and he may show some real life this weekend. A top 5 finish in either race would be a great sign that BMW can truly compete in the 2016 season. 

While US tv coverage is still TBD at this point and not listed on, I would expect that beIN Sports will again show both races live. Note that for the Australian races, beIN had race 1 listed on the guide as too be announced but showed the Sunday listing for race 2 accurately.

Baring an major developments before then, I'll recap these race's results on Monday and then we can look forward to the double extravaganza next weekend, the start of both MotoGP and F1!



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Americans missing from Formula One

Posted By Chase Hinderstein, Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Formula One is thought to be the second most popular sport in the world, but in the United States it’s rarely even an afterthought. I don’t know if you can put the cart before the horse or if you can have a chicken before an egg, but the races this year also have very little American presence on the track.

There has been some progress, and 2016 will introduce the new Haas racing F1 team I expect Haas will be a legitimate force, if not actual contenders for the podium. Backed by deep corporate pockets, seeking to expand their own brand globally, and with solid racing knowhow from their domestic efforts as well as a Ferrari engine, Haas should have a steep learning curve. However, they elected to go with known quantities in the driver’s seats and not an American behind the wheel.

In a sport where the highest team budgets can go beyond $500 million annually, staying solvent is always part of the equation in F1. Some teams have failed recently, and left their staffs unpaid and gear sent to auction. In this age, it’s sometimes not the best choice for winning that is selected, but that which will keep you afloat. It can be more practical for a team to develop a car than can secure points but not truly compete for the front, giving them a decent piece of the financial purse. A realistic effort and budget can gather lucrative points in the middle of the pack, making a team profitable, rather than overspending with the hopes of an occasional podium, where the results wouldn’t cover the financial costs. It can also be better to select a driver who brings along cash, rather than one who may be faster but needs to get paid.

Recently this played out on the newly badged Renault team, when they decided to release tenured driver, the Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado from his contract. Maldonado had been a bit wild in recent seasons, with some spectacular wrecks and many dnfs ( but he had always brought along millions from the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA. Likely due to the massive drop in oil prices, PDVSA had been recently slow in delivering their pledged payments and Renault cut Maldonado loose.

These types of motivators have had an impact on the lack of American presence on the grid. Manor is the lowest budgeted F1 team and emerged with new principal ownership from bankruptcy just a year ago. Last season they granted American and paddock favorite Alexander Rossi 5 starts behind the wheel. Rossi did well and outperformed his senior teammate on the track. However, once again finances prioritized decisions and when it had been hoped that the Californian would have a regular seat for the Manor team this year; they opted instead to bring in the first ever Indonesian driver in F1, Rio Haryanto. Indonesia is a large and important growing market for motorsports, and it’s understood that with Haryanto, Manor was securing $20 million in additional funding from the state owned natural gas company, and additional Indonesian sponsors are expected. Alexander has been hired in the Indy racing series for 2016 by the Andretti racing team.

Rio Haryanto
Rio Haryanto of Manor Racing

So, while I remain passionate about the drama and action of Formula 1, it’s hard to make the case for Americans to come along at this point. We have one race currently scheduled in the USA, in Austin, along with additional races held in Montreal and Mexico City. While Montreal is considered a fan and driver favorite, the race in Austin is struggling for its life. Attendance started strong a few years ago but has trailed off, and state funding has been withdrawn, threatening the future of the event.

Tags:  F1  motorsport  Racing 

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Welcome to RennMotorrad!

Posted By Chase Hinderstein, Monday, February 29, 2016

The winter is officially over. Unless you’re someone who demarcated the start of spring last weekend by watching the Skittles swirling around the oval in Daytona, this weekend ushered in the start of the race season with two great races in World Superbike competition from Philip Island, Australia.

Welcome to RennMotorrad (@BMWRennmotorrad), a blog where I’ll discuss BMW Motorrad racing, primarily in World Superbike, while also using license to discuss events in MotoGP, F1, and other areas of the racing world.

While still not getting full support on any factory team, the BMW S1000RR is positioned for better results in 2016, with 2 notable albeit non-factory teams switching from other brands to the BMW platform and bringing along larger budgets and more prominent riders.

The Milwaukee Tools sponsored team will receive some factory support from BMW and carries aboard legitimate firepower in Josh Brookes, who previously won the championship in British Superbikes, as well as Karel Abraham. Abraham is a rider from the Czech Republic who has raced the past 5 years in MotoGP. His family owns the circuit in Brno, but unfortunately that’s not on the calendar for 2016.

Althea is not only a Grateful Dead song but our other team representing BMW in the Championship. They too will receive some factory support to their base in Rome. While their riders may be lesser known, it’s notable that they have Jordi Torres, aka the Spanish Elvis, on board. Jordi showed great progress last season on the now defunct Aprilia factory team and I think he’ll be the one of the four BMWs to challenge for some podiums this year.

A quick mention of a change in WSBK this season. WSBK has always run two races per event. However this season they’ve moved race 1 to Saturday afternoon, after riders finish qualifying in the morning. Happily, both races are shown live in the USA on beIN sports. The station is focused on international sports. While it may not have as many subscribers, their style of coverage is far superior to Fox Sports, who frequently stumbles in their coverage of MotoGP. While Fox may interrupt a MotoGP live race in favor of a NASCAR post-race press conference, beIN shows the full race with limited interruptions. Hopefully MotoGP will move over to beIN or join F1 at NBC Sports after this contract.

The season began this past weekend at Phillip Island, a popular tourist destination for Australians, which is about 2 hours south of Melbourne.

Chaz Daytona 2008.jpg
By David Pettit - Wikipedia:Contact us/Photo submission, CC BY-SA 3.0,

In race 1, the front of the pack featured some good battles for 1st, especially with challenges by Chaz Davies who now sits atop a Ducati but we remember from his rides atop the BMW factory ride, but ultimately it was the Northern Irishman Jonathan Rea who took the checkered. It was Rea and this Kawasaki that won the Championship last season.

Worth watching this year is Nicky Hayden (!) who comes to WSBK after a long successful career in MotoGP racing. Nicky is back aboard a familiar and competitive Honda, which he managed to a 9th place finish race 1. The American fought near the front for much of the race, but rear tire degradation late in the match saw him drop a few spots.

Also worth watching this year is British rider and fellow bulldog owner, Leon Camier. Camier is alone representing a much improved MV Augusta team, and I have possibly unrealistic hopes that this brand can return to form. It had been a premier racing badge in much of the 20th century.

Torres was the best performing BMW in race 1, finishing 8th. He was followed by Brookes in 10th,  Abraham 13th, and Torres’ teammate Reiterberger out of the points in 20th. To the uninitiated this may seem uninspired, but for three of the four to finish in the points is actually a fine achievement. It speaks to the stock performance of the bike and the grit of the riders. They’re aboard a bike which is not very different from the S1000RRs we’re seeing at dealerships. To compete successfully with the big budget factory modified teams is no easy task.

Race 2 on Sunday was not dissimilar. Ultimately Rea held off a strong challenge from Hayden’s teammate on the Honda, Michael van der Mark and took the flag for the double. Nicky came close to his first podium but was ultimately passed on the final lap by the Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli aboard his Yamaha R1.

Torres finished 7th, essentially leading the second pack of riders. He was closely followed by his own teammate, Markus Reiterberger in 8th. Brookes took 9th, while Abraham bookended Chaz Davies by taking 11th. Davies had been in close contention with Rea, swapping 1st place at times, but late in the race he lost the back end and slid off the track. He managed to pick up his Ducati and scramble to stay in the top 10.

Next race weekend is March 13th, when the WSBK Championship moves on to Thailand. The following weekend is a highlight of my year, when both MotoGP and Formula 1 kick off their seasons, in Qatar under the lights and Melbourne Australia respectively.

A fantastic resource to easily discover when these and other race circuits are locally broadcast, can be found at

I will be also tweeting and sharing related materials on Twitter. Please follow along @BMWRennmotorrad.

Tags:  F1  MotoGP  Racing  S1000RR  World Superbike  WSBK 

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