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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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Top tags: S1000RR  WSBK  Racing  MotoGP  F1  Althea  motorsport  Torres  AltheaBMW  Assen  crash  De Rosa  Haas  IOMTT  Isle of Man  JordiTorres  Melandri  N8  Netherlands  Nicky Hayden  Reiterberger  S100RR  W  WERA  World Superbike 

WSBK season opens at Phillips Island

Posted By Wes Fleming, Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship – commonly known as World Superbike, or WSBK – had its season opener at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Australia on 25-26 February, 2017.

Both races were nail-bitingly exciting, with #1 plate holder Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) trading the lead with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing/Ducati), Marco Melandri (Aruba.it/Ducati), Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha) and even rookie Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) but ultimately winning both races. Rea leads the championship after its inaugural event with 50 points, but Davies isn’t far behind with 40 points earned from his dual second-place finishes.

The Althea BMW Racing Team had a respectable, but ultimately disappointing outing. Spaniard Jordi Torres (#81) finished Race 1 in 7th place, 8.7 seconds behind Rea. Torres fell back quickly from his starting position in Row 3, but fought ahead to within striking distance of the lead pack and benefitted from Lorenzo Savadori and Marco Melandri crashing out of Race 1.

He managed to stay well ahead of Irishman Eugene Laverty in the last laps of the race, but couldn’t quite catch fellow Spaniard Xavi Forés, who brought up the rear of the lead pack. Torres had the fastest speed of the entire grid during Race 1, reaching 198.5 mph and due to new gridding rules, his seventh-place finish in Race 1 put him in the fourth slot on the grid for Race 2, at the head of Row 2.

Markus Reiterberger (#21) spent much of Race 1 clashing with American Nicky Hayden’s teammate, rookie Stefan Bradl, ultimately finishing in 12th place, over 21 seconds behind the winner but just two seconds behind Hayden, who seemed to struggle with his Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2. “I was happy with the test early in the week,” Reiterberger said, praising the setup on his S 1000 RR.

Race 2 was a disappointment for Torres, who had acceleration problems with his motorcycle during the warm-up lap and was forced to drop out of the race altogether. “It was a weekend of ups and downs for us,” he said. “Overall the weekend went well and we know that we have the pace to be consistently within the front group.”

All the teams had to deal with scorching track temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which made tire management not only difficult, but critical to success. Most laps saw times above 1 minute, 32 seconds, while many qualifying times were well over a full second faster.

Reiterberger started Race 2 well, getting as high as ninth place before spending most of the race in 11th. Unfortunately, he dropped two positions in the final drag race out of Turn 12, crossing the finish line in 13th, nearly 26 seconds behind Rea.

Torres sits at nine points in the overall standings, with Reiterberger close behind at seven. BMW has 12 points in the Manufacturer’s Standings, trailing Aprilia (15) but leading Honda (6). Both men earned points in the BMW Motorrad Race Trophy, which covers 20 racing series around the world.

As happens with many WSBK race weekends, the host nation’s Superbike Championship runs the same weekend, and Phillip Island was no exception. There are two S 1000 RR riders campaigning in the Australian Superbike Championship, Troy Guenther (#56, NextGen Motorsports) and Samuel Lambert (#54, Cyclone Motorcycles).

While WSBK has an overall grid of 22 riders – Italian Leandro Mercado from the IodaRacing team sat out due to injury – ASBK has a field of 35 racers, and even more at some events. They also run three races every weekend compared to WSBK’s two.

Guenther tacked down 11th and 13th place finishes in Races 1 and 2, respectively, but was solidly mid-pack at 17th after Race 3 was red-flagged and restarted due to a serious crash. Lambert earned finishes in 16th, 20th and 14th places for the three races.

“It was a big learning curve this weekend for myself and the NextGen Motorsports team,” Guenther said. “We tried many different settings on the BMW S 1000 RR, and came away with a good direction of what does and doesn’t work – along with a haul of points to start the year.”

The next WSBK races will be from 10-12 March at the Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram, Thailand. ASBK’s next races will be from 17-19 March at Wakefield Park Raceway in Goulburn, New South Wales.

Superbike racing in the USA kicks off 21-23 April in a combined MotoGP-MotoAmerica event at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. BMW S 1000 RR racers Steve Rapp and Jeremy Cook are expected to race for MotoAmerica at COTA.

Tags:  Racing  S1000RR  WSBK 

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Remember Marco Melandri?

Posted By Will Guyan, Saturday, February 11, 2017

Remember Marco Melandri back in '12 and '13? He won WSBK races on the feisty BMW RR. Then, BMW quit racing, pissing off just about everybody, from the actual teams to we lowly race fans. Why 'lowly'? Because we are simply not taken into the decison, BMW even going so far as to quit before the season was over. But now, BMW 'graduates' Melandri and Chaz Davies are both set to attack the 2017 season from the front row on the resplendent Ducati Panigales. Chaz Davies said when he was told BMW was quitting in '13: "I was gobsmacked! Nobody saw that coming. We were so close...." When Melandri won Race 2 at Miller in Utah in 2012, BMW was ecstatic. And so were we race fans. Here we see up close and personal the top guys at Motorrad Motorsport carrying Marco to the podium! Incidentally, Race 1 was conquered by retired Carlos Checa, on Ducati. Carlos' race team? Althea Racing (now Althea BMW Race Team!) The musical chairs played by the top world fast guys is fascinating.

Now, last year's WSBK team Milwaukee BMW have changed marques from the BMW S1000RR to the Aprilia RSV4. Able Irish fast guy Eugene Laverty was selected to ride the Aprilia and did so with great success recently at Jerez at the pre season test, despite a bad crash when he was hit by another rider. This guy grew up racing on the streets, which is where they race over there for the most part: Isle of Man, and the rest of the highly dangerous road courses they have lived with in the British Isles since gas was twisted via throttle. Laverty is fearless. Milwaukee selected Aprilia. Former BMW heros Melandri and Davies are on the Aprilia.

So far, that leaves Althea BMW Race Team for 2017, race fans. Stay tuned as the 'silly season' unfolds. Lastly, we're unsure whom we miss more, Marco Melandri or his stunning consort, Italian supermodel, Manuela Raffaetta!

Photos copyright Will Guyan.

Tags:  Melandri  S100RR  WSBK 

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A good weekend for BMW in Imola

Posted By Chase Hinderstein, Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The World Superbike Championship at Imola this past weekend showed additional progress for BMW, while the haves continue to dominate the podium.

After a bizarre and dangerous crash during the warm up lap of race 1 on Saturday, the rest of the race went without much drama. Rea tried to put up a good challenge to the new dominant power of Chaz Davies on the Ducati. However the Northern Irish rider could not continue to battle with the Welshman, as his tires wore down later in the race and he did well to hold off his teammate, Tom Sykes, to hang on to second place.

Jordi Torres qualified 6th on his Althea S1000RR BMW and showed great pace throughout to finish 4th. I hope that soon he may challenge for a podium, without the need for rain or a dnf from the typical trio. It's really great to watch him as he gains comfort race by race on the bike. It may not be perfectly suited for him. Torres is almost 6' and he appears to climb around the frame while putting the bike deftly through the turns. In comparison, his teammate Markus Reiterberger is far more elegant on his RR but he just can't maintain the same pace. Reiterberger qualified 8th and still managed good points with a 13th place finish. 

Reiterberger is of similar size but is far more elegant as he carves turn after turn in a smooth clean fashion that's lovely to behold. However, perhaps it's better to be a bit ugly if it's got more pace.

Race 2 on Sunday had similar results on the podium, while the Torres and Reiterberger finished 7th and 12th respectively. Worth noting was the pace of Leon Camier, alone on his MV Agusta team. The company is challenged but a new engine has brought much more speed for Leon and he finshed 6th and 5th between the two races. If MV cannot improve, his name could be mentioned for bigger rides, but he does turn 30 this year.

Two big moments worth viewing.

A major save for Johnny Rea shows that you should never give up on that throttle!

  

And also a great demonstration of form from Chaz Davies, as he positions himself for an upcoming left hander, while still over and completing a right hander. It's not easy to fight your body over that way.


Tags:  MotoGP  motorsport  Racing  S1000RR  WSBK 

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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, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5127072

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 tvracer.com.

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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