BMW Motorrad Motorsport Kicks Off The 2023 WorldSBK Season With The New BMW M 1000 RR
The 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship opens with two back-to-back overseas events for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. This weekend (24th to 26th February), Phillip Island in Australia hosts the opening round of the season. Just one week later (3rd to 5th March), the WorldSBK circus is at Mandalika, Indonesia, for round two. The ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team and BMW Motorrad factory riders Loris Baz (FRA), Garrett Gerloff (USA), Scott Redding (GBR) and Michael van der Mark (NED) are set for their race debuts with the new BMW M 1000 RR.
The new generation of the BMW M 1000 RR was launched in October 2022 and serves as the basis for the World Superbike for the 2023 season. The new bike’s aerodynamics, in particular, have undergone comprehensive optimisation. At the same time, BMW Motorrad Motorsport has spent the winter developing specific racing components to be used in WorldSBK.
The two teams completed their pre-season preparations with the official tests at Phillip Island on Monday and Tuesday. The teams and the four riders used both days to fine-tune their bikes ahead of the opening races.
Quotes ahead of the Phillip Island and Mandalika rounds.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “After a short and busy winter break, we now get back down to the serious business with two back-to-back race weekends. We are very excited about the races at Phillip Island and Mandalika. It is always challenging when you compete with a new bike – particularly as the WorldSBK has an extremely strong field this year and will be very competitive. However, we are confident: we have optimised our bike, our teams are doing an outstanding job, and our four riders are among the best in the field. For us, the two teams and the four riders, it is now important to establish a good basis in Australia and Indonesia, on which we can then build over the course of the season.”
Garrett Gerloff, #31 BMW M 1000 RR, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team: “It has been the final test before 2023 officially starts. It was a good three out of four sessions. I feel like we made a lot of progress and we have a lot of information from the last two days. Only in the final session, we had some issues. In general, I think we know what we need to do for the weekend coming up. The bike feels good and I know that we can make more progress. There were more positives than negatives and that’s all that matters. At the first two rounds, I just want to have everything working well and I think at this point being in the top ten would be a really good result. I either want to be close to the best BMW or the best BMW. I think that’s the main goal. Overall, I want to be in the top ten for sure, and hopefully we can prepare the bike for these first two rounds in a way that we can make it happen.”
Scott Redding, #45 BMW M 1000 RR, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “At the test, we have worked on getting some more feeling with the bike and as the track started to have more grip I started to feel better. We tried a few things to help with the rear grip again and we worked on electronics to get me more feeling in that area of the bike. We still have some work to do. Now we start the season with a double-header. I am not feeling super confident yet but it is coming slowly the more I ride the bike. The field is super close at the moment. When you look at the lap times, it is super close with everybody. So it will be difficult to say what the targets for the first two rounds are and the race is obviously different to testing. I would be happy to get some top-six finishes in the first races. Overall, we just need to play it by ear and see where we are after the first race to improve on that.”
Michael van der Mark, #60 BMW M 1000 RR, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “It was nice to have another two days of testing. We had a solid plan, tried a lot of things, mainly with the electronics but also with the suspension. We did not change the bike completely but it was just small things we wanted to try and re-confirm. It has been good days of testing but as always in testing you want more time, but I think we can be quite happy. We had no problems so I am starting the weekend quite confident. At the first two rounds, we for sure need to be in the top ten. It seems that the midfield in WorldSBK is really tight now and I think we can expect some really good battles but we improved the bike a lot over the winter, step by step. Maybe not in the single-lap pace but over race distance and feeling for us. So I am looking forward to start the season. To be racing at Phillip Island and in Indonesia is amazing, two really good but completely different tracks. For me, the winter has been long enough and I can’t wait to start racing.”
Loris Baz, #76 BMW M 1000 RR, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team: “We were struggling a little bit throughout these two days, but had a good session on Monday morning, where I felt good straight away. After that we couldn’t really improve and had some problems with the bike. Luckily, it was a test. I would rather have these issues on Monday and Tuesday than Friday to Sunday. I want to say a huge thank you to all the guys, because it was two very long days for them now. They put in a lot of effort, we all did. We just have to continue like this. It is difficult to say what I expect from the first two rounds. If I manage to reach the team’s target, the top ten, in these two first rounds, I will be happy.”
Source: BMW Group