During a motorsport press conference at the EICMA stand of BMW Motorrad, Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad, and BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers discussed the new Superbike’s first year in international racing. Tom Sykes (GBR), who will contest his second season for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team in 2020, his new team-mate Eugene Laverty (GBR) and Team Principal Shaun Muir were also there.
In the FIM Superbike World Championship, the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team caused a stir right from the very first race, with fast times and good results. Sykes claimed the first WorldSBK podium for the new RR at Misano (ITA) in June; the Superbike’s total haul for the maiden season was four podiums and one pole position.
In July, BMW Motorrad Motorsport also announced that it would be entering a works team in the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC). In its maiden race, the Bol d’Or at Le Castellet (FRA) in September, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance team finished in third place in a field of 56 starters at the first time of asking.
In international road racing, Peter Hickman (GBR / Smiths Racing) rode to wins and records on the new RR at legendary events such as the North West 200, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy and the Ulster Grand Prix. Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) of the alpha Racing-Van-Zon-BMW team also celebrated a commanding title win in the German International Motorcycle Championship IDM with the new RR. There were also other successes in various championships.
“It was a fantastic first season for the new BMW S 1000 RR,” said Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad, at the EICMA. “The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team and our motorsport employees in Munich did an outstanding job in WorldSBK. Our maiden season in WorldSBK was a year of learning, for developing the racing motorcycle, but we didn’t have to wait long to celebrate our first podium with Tom Sykes. Further podiums followed, and we were consistently up there battling in the top six in this series with a top-class field so we exceeded our own expectations. The same is true of the FIM EWC. Within a very short timeframe, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team developed an endurance version of the RR, and the team was up there at the top from the start of the first race. We are also delighted to have continued the winning streak of our predecessor model with the new RR in international road racing. Our new Superbike also enjoyed success in national championships, such as the IDM, in which the RR was dominant. All these successes in the various race categories show that our production version of the RR is the perfect basis for developing racing versions to meet various requirements.”
“When we started the development, we could not yet foresee these strong results,” added BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers. “We knew, however, that the new RR has a strong base. The first winter tests already showed that the bike had potential in race trim. Over the course of the season, we continuously improved the bike. The largest impact came from two engine updates. Furthermore, we brought new bodywork and considerable electronic updates and made modifications to the chassis. In general, development is a continuous process to close the gap to our top competitors. We have acquired a lot of data in our first season from which we can analyse our strengths and weaknesses. This will be our base to work from in the winter.”
“It has been a manic season, the whole relationship with BMW Motorrad Motorsport and SMR started very late, so the challenge was always going to be difficult in its first year. Going into 2020 we can look at the success we achieved in 2019 and work on the good foundations we have built,“ said Shaun Muir, Team Principal of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. “I’m especially pleased in the way that we have steadily developed the BMW S 1000 RR at our pace, we have developed the bike in such a way that we are a force to be reckoned with and now we must take that to the next level. With the new addition of Eugene Laverty partnering Tom Sykes in 2020 we have a strong duo and we feel we can take that challenge to another level and challenge for wins.”
Sykes and Laverty also gave an initial preview of the coming WorldSBK season at the EICMA and presented their BMW S 1000 RR for 2020 on the stage.
“Regarding the 2019 season, I feel like the new BMW S 1000 RR was certainly able to showcase a lot of its potential,” explained Sykes. “Considering the fact that the project started very late I think that what we were able to achieve in that time is really impressive. The good thing as well is that during the season we were able to gather a lot of data and information which is now very valuable in the winter moving into the 2020 season. I’m very happy that I have the continuity and stay with the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. And of course, my target is to win races and I feel that with a bit more time and development that is achievable. I can’t wait to start our programme for 2020.”
His new team-mate Laverty is already looking forward to working with the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team: “I’m so grateful for this opportunity from BMW for 2020 and the faith that BMW has put in me. My aim is to repay with some race wins and I know that the bike is capable of that after the debut season that already saw the RR on the podium several times. I hope I can add to that in 2020.”