World Superbike action in Navarra, Spain, saw great results for both current and future BMW Motorrad Motorsport racers Tom Sykes, Michael van der Mark and Scott Redding (who is still competing on a Ducati through the end of this season.)
Redding (GBR) won Race 1, with Sykes (GBR) finishing 4th and van der Mark (NED) taking 7th place. American Garret Gerloff (Yamaha) finished 9th. Both BMW riders are competing on BMW’s new M 1000 RR superbike.
In Race 2, Redding finished 2nd behind Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR), with Sykes taking 5th and van der Mark 9th. Gerloff crashed out and did not finish Race 2.
Sykes started Sunday morning’s Superpole race 3rd place. He fell back a little at the start, taking the checkered flag in 6th after ten laps. Van der Mark started 10th, running as high as 7th before finishing in 8th place.
Sunday saw a repeat of the previous day’s high temperatures and the start of race two was delayed by ten minutes after a rider experienced some issues on the grid. The lights went out at 14:10. After a hard-fought first lap, Sykes and van der Mark had moved up from 6th and 8th into 4th and 5th positions. However, Andrea Locatelli (ITA, Yamaha) passed van der Mark on lap three and overtook Sykes one lap later. That put Sykes in 5th, and he maintained that top five position to the finish line after 22 laps. Van der Mark was 7th for a large part of the race, but lost a place in the closing stages, finishing 8th. After the race, van der Mark was demoted by one place for exceeding track limits on the final lap.
Navarra hosted the seventh round of the 2021 WorldSBK season. The racing continues in two weeks at Magny-Cours, France, from 3-5 September.
“[Sunday] was a good step of improvement from [Saturday]. Tom rode very well today; he dug really deep and withstood a lot of pressure from Alex in the feature race and improved his overall race finish by six or seven seconds from yesterday. Tom will be pleased with his performance; we certainly are. A big shout out for him for that one. Michael just kind of never got comfortable with the bike on the bumpy circuit with a lot of front end chatter problems. He did well in his Superpole Race to move up a row so that was good for his start. I think he could have matched the pace of Alex and Tom in front of him but he just had a couple of moments and it prevented him from keeping that fifth, sixth, seventh position. Overall, it was not bad, improvement from yesterday, we still have some work to do but we can’t be too disappointed, so we can go away pretty happy.”
“That was not an easy weekend for us, but we did manage to finish all three races with Tom and Michael in the points. We didn’t do as well as expected in the Superpole race [Sunday] morning in the cooler conditions, however we did manage to claim sixth and eighth on the grid. That was certainly an improvement compared to the most recent races for Michael. It then paid off in the second race. After both made a good start, we were in fourth and fifth positions. Tom then fell back to fifth place but did some great defending against Alex Lowes. Michael certainly had more of a battle on his hands but compared to yesterday we closed the gap to the leaders by seven seconds. That’s still not enough but it’s going in the right direction. In the heat today, they both chose a different front tyre to yesterday, which will have made the biggest difference – and now we have to learn from that for the next high-temperature events coming up in Spain and Portugal.”
“It was not a bad weekend. With the high track temperatures, it was definitely a challenging weekend. For the engines and for the riders, this kind of temperatures got to the limit in the afternoon race. Overall we have been trying to improve the set-up of the bike, certainly since as well the hot test in Catalunya, but still we had some limitations. We had some big problems in the race and we tried two different solutions from the tyre but I had some limitations in some different aspects to be fair. Even in race two I had some issues with turning and understeer, also rear traction. I just worked hard to try to managing the bike on brake pressure, in throttle openings and tried to make the best race I could. I had a lot of pressure throughout the race but we were able to deal with this. The best was lap one. We struggled to get a run on anyone this weekend but there was a bit of confusion between Alex Lowes and Andrea Locatelli and going into the turn at the end of the back straight that was a good opportunity for me so I took that and that gave me a good track position for the rest of the race.”
“It was a tough Sunday. In [Sunday]’s Superpole race I struggled quite a lot with the front end of the bike. I just couldn’t attack anyone or stay with anyone so I was a bit disappointed but anyway, I gained a few starting positions for race two. I then had a good start but I immediately felt that I was losing at the exits compared to the others so I tried to push more on the front but I didn’t feel good and it was quite a long and tough race. We need to improve that but at least we got some points, we always keep trying and I am looking forward to Magny-Cours now.”