At the fifth round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship, the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team celebrated its seventh podium position of the season. Factory rider Marco Melandri finished second in race one at British track, “Donington Park” on his BMW S 1000 RR. In race two, the Italian crossed the line in fifth place. His team-mate and local hero Chaz Davies finished eighth and sixth respectively. In the Riders’ Classification, Marco is fourth with 127 points, directly followed by Chaz who is fifth with 112 points. In the Manufacturers’ classification, BMW lies third with 175 points. From Donington, the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team heads directly to Spain, where it will conduct two days of testing at “Motorland Aragón” this week.
Coming from sixth place on the grid, Marco started his chase towards the front of the pack in race one on the seventh of the 23 lap race. He closed the gap to the front, waiting for opportunities and taking them by overtaking his competitors. On lap 17, he had improved to second place but leader Tom Sykes had pulled away too far leaving no chance for Marco to catch him, so the Italian crossed the line in second, 2.3 seconds behind Sykes. Chaz had a tough first race from seventh on the grid. In the beginning, he was close behind Marco but the Welshman struggled with grip. He fought numerous battles to keep his position but had to settle with eighth.
In the early stages of race two, both riders kept with the leading group but on lap six, Marco had a near highside. The Italian saved it and kept fifth position but lost a bit of time. In the following laps, Marco and Chaz started to steadily close the gap to the top four riders. In the second half of the race, Marco began his attack for the podium. On lap 16, he overtook Davide Giugliano for fourth, then Eugene Laverty and was in third. He kept this position until the penultimate lap but then fell back behind Laverty. When trying another attempt to regain the podium position on the final lap, Marco went wide onto the grass and slipped back to fifth. Chaz had quite a lonely second part of the race. He lost contact to the top five and had a big gap to the field behind. So his sixth position was not threatened but he was too far back to be involved in the battles in front of him. The winner of the second race was again Sykes.
Marco Melandri: “It was a weekend of mixed emotions. Race one was really nice, but not easy. I had quite a good start, then I began pushing to gain positions. It was difficult to overtake Johnny and Sylvain and it took time. Then, when I had claimed second position, Tom was too far away and I didn’t have enough time to reach him, but I was happy with second place. In race two, my start was not as good but step by step I got closer to the front group. But when I was directly behind Laverty, I started to have some difficulties riding. On the final lap, I tried to overtake him in the chicane, but when entering the corner I could not brake properly so I went wide to avoid a crash. It was a pity as I had hoped to get more points. Now we have to continue working. This week we will go testing and try some new solutions.”
Chaz Davies: “It was not an easy day. The first race was tough as pretty much from the early laps onwards I nearly had no grip. After a few laps the tyres started to spin more than I was expecting. The spinning was upsetting the chassis and making the bike nervous, so it was a fight for 23 laps. I tried everything I could to make the bike more stable and to find more grip but I could not do anything. For race two we made quite a few changes and I had better grip for longer so I could stay with the front group for a while. But then grip started lacking again and I could not do anything more. Now we go testing in Aragón where we have a few things to try and I am looking forward to that.”
Andrea Buzzoni (General Manager BMW Motorrad WSBK): “With determination and cleverness, Marco claimed second position in the first of today’s races. This was the best result he could get as Sykes was unbeatable. In race two, his start was not that good but he was able to close up to the front group quickly. In the second half of the race, he was racing at the limit – like all riders – and he was close to another podium. Unfortunately, although he rode bravely and tried all he could he was not able to reach it. Chaz had a difficult weekend, on a track which is not one of his favourite ones. But despite this, he collected important points.
We have completed the first third of the season and so far, we can draw a positive summary. The competitiveness in the series has raised a lot and we need to keep working in order to keep our performance level constantly high. In three days, we will start a two day test in Aragón. We have a packed schedule and many solutions to test. We need to keep very focused as the season is still so long.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “We claimed another podium and this is important for BMW. It was a very tough weekend because we lost the first day due to weather conditions and this did not help us in finding the perfect set-up. We know that the Superbike World Championship is very competitive and this was confirmed today. To fight for the win, every single detail needs to fit. We saw that our competitors have moved a step forward and now it is our goal to catch up to them and to further improve our bikes to the needs of our riders. One thing we need to work on is our qualifying performance as it is tough to start from the second and third row but also in race trim we had some issues. Marco had difficulties when braking into the corners, while Chaz was lacking rear grip this weekend and could not turn the bike as he would have liked. In race one today, Marco was able to catch up. In race two he struggled and made a mistake because he was riding over the limit of the bike. Our target is to move the limit as our competitors have done. We have a test planned next week in which we will evaluate different settings and updated parts in order to improve in the areas where we are struggling.”