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BMW Motorrad Motorsport in Most: solid WorldSBK weekend with highlights.

The eighth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship 2023 (WorldSBK) in Most (CZE) delivered solid results and some highlights for BMW Motorrad Motorsport, both teams and the four BMW Motorrad factory riders. Scott Redding (GBR / ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) finished fourth in the first main race to match his best race result of the season. Loris Baz (FRA / Bonovo action BMW Racing Team) reached the top ten in both main races.

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Most. The eighth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship 2023 (WorldSBK) in Most (CZE) delivered solid results and some highlights for BMW Motorrad Motorsport, both teams and the four BMW Motorrad factory riders. Scott Redding (GBR / ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) finished fourth in the first main race to match his best race result of the season. Loris Baz (FRA / Bonovo action BMW Racing Team) reached the top ten in both main races. His team-mate Garrett Gerloff (USA) recorded his best qualifying result of the season so far with sixth place in the Superpole, but endured some bad luck in both main races. Michael van der Mark (NED), returning to the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team after missing an extended period due to injury, chalked up some points and got plenty of race kilometres under his belt.

 

The BMW Motorrad factory riders put down some markers in the free practice sessions. Redding recorded the best time in FP1 on Friday, while Gerloff was quickest in FP3 on Saturday morning with Redding behind him in second place. The atmosphere was full of optimism before the Superpole, but numerous falls and yellow flags in qualifying repeatedly put the brakes on the hunt for fast lap times. Gerloff was the best-placed BMW rider in eighth. As riders ahead of him saw their fastest laps annulled, he moved up to sixth on the grid. Baz started race one from 13th, with Redding and van der Mark 15th and 18th.

 

Race one on Saturday afternoon developed into a tyre lottery. Rain set in at the start, but the expectation was that it would ease off and the track would quickly dry out. So, the key question on the wet grid was: which tyres should we start the race on? Redding selected wet-weather tyres on the grid, but headed for the pits after the warm-up lap to put on intermediates. This meant he had to start at the back of the field, from the pit lane. However, Redding ploughed through the field with a great chasing performance, spending time in second place before crossing the line in fourth after 22 laps. Baz and his crew chose intermediates and the French rider reached the finishing line in tenth place. Van der Mark played it safe by starting on wet-weather tyres and then pitted after a few laps to switch to slicks. He scored points in his first race after a long, injury-enforced break, finishing 13th. However, Gerloff endured some bad luck. Running in seventh place, he slid on a wet patch and took a tumble.

 

It rained once again on Saturday night and Sunday morning, but the track dried out in time for the Superpole Race before noon. Gerloff finished the race in ninth, while Baz, Redding and van der Mark crossed the finishing line in 12th, 13th and 14th positions.

 

Rain clouds re-appeared before the start of the second main race on Sunday afternoon, but conditions remained dry for the race. Redding started from 15th and produced another great chasing performance in the dry as he moved up to eighth. Baz also progressed through the field, reaching the top eight for a time and taking the chequered flag in 10th after 22 laps. Van der Mark finished 15th to score another point. Gerloff suffered more misfortune: he made a great start from ninth on the grid, only to fall on lap one. He was able to rejoin the race, headed to the pits for a brief repair stop and finished in 20th.

 

The WorldSBK is now taking a summer break. The ninth round of the 2023 season will take place on 8th to 10th September in Magny-Cours, France.

 

Reactions to the Most round.

 

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “It was a very mixed weekend, both in terms of results and weather. And these were partly related. For Michael, his comeback weekend unfortunately started negatively. In FP2, there was a mechanical issue that caused a crash. Fortunately, he was okay and from Saturday onwards things went smoothly in technical terms, and it was good that he could do several laps to assess where he stands and what he needs to work on. He finished all the races and scored points. We are very satisfied with that. For Scott, we were very strong in the free practices, however qualifying was difficult. The session is short and tight, and with the rule that lap times get cancelled with yellow flags, even with a strong pace, it’s possible to come up short. And that was the case with Scott. However, he made a good decision in the first race and came in again before the start to switch to intermediates. He secured an extremely strong fourth place. In the second main race, he climbed from P15 to eighth. He had a solid pace again, but starting from the back is still challenging. Garrett showed strong lap times in the free practices and had a very good qualifying with P6. Unfortunately, he couldn’t capitalise on the Superpole position in the first race due to a crash in the wet conditions. In the Superpole race, he stayed within the crucial top nine. He also had a great start in race two, but unfortunately, he went into neutral and crashed. Although he continued with very strong lap times, he was outside the points. Loris had a consistently solid weekend, and we can be satisfied with his two top-10 results. Now we head into the summer break, and in early September, we hope for a strong start to the final stretch of the season in Magny-Cours.”

 

Scott Redding, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team (SP: 15 / R01: 4 / SP Race: 13 / R02: 8): “Overall the weekend was pretty good. We were first on Friday in mixed conditions and second in FP3. We were a bit more up there which was nice. Obviously we had to take a gamble in different conditions but it paid off. I was a bit upset with the result in this morning’s Superpole race. We had an issue, something was not quite right, an it made it difficult to stop the bike. It was hard because I wanted to try and finish in the top nine, to have a better start position for race two, and knew I had better pace than that but I just couldn’t do it, so it was frustrating. In race two, I wanted to try and bounce back and show my potential again as a rider, so to come from 15th and have a good pace in the second half of the race was good. It took me a while to get through a few guys and to get a clear track but I felt I was riding well and the pace was good. I think we were 13 seconds off the leader of which I was probably lost three, four, five in the beginning. It wasn’t ideal but I felt strong and the main thing is I enjoyed riding the bike today.”

 

Loris Baz, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team (SP: 13 / R01: 10 / SP Race: 12 / R02: 10): “It wasn’t a bad weekend. We have now had two good weekends in a row and I don’t know when yhis was last the case. I am happy as I didn’t crash and nobody took me out, so hopefully we have left the bad luck behind us. I am even more proud and happy of the job we did here because in Imola, I felt really good from the beginning. Here I didn’t feel comfortable on Friday or yesterday and was struggling a lot in some parts of the track. But we managed to improve the bike and that on a track where we struggled last year. So yes, it was good. My Superpole race was okay. I was struggling a lot to overtake Dominique Aegerter but we were not in the top nine and that is what matters in the sprint race. Race two was good. I had a really strong start and then I was trying to go at my pace, to not make any mistakes and I be there at the end. I struggled a bit with arm pump and I was still in pain from my left shoulder since the crash in Imola. But I am happy. In the top ten again. I was just a bit disappointed to lose the top nine on the last lap.”

 

Michael van der Mark, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team (SP: 18 / R01: 13 / SP Race: 14 / R02: 15): “This Sunday was OK for me. My priority was to do as many laps as possible. Of course you also want to go as fast as possible too. In this morning’s Superpole race, I was happy. I had quite a good rhythm but it was not more than ten laps. Then in race two, I had a good start but was a bit too cautious into turn one and then I was behind a big group. I stayed with them for a while but I was pushing too much to stay with them so I backed off because I knew I had to do as many laps as possible. It was a lonely race but we had to finish, we had to do the laps. So I am happy with the result. Overall, it’s nice to be back.”

 

Garrett Gerloff, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team (SP: 6 / R01: DNF / SP Race: 9 / R02: 20): “I was happy to stay in the top nine in the Superpole race. I had a really good start in race two but unfortunately, the bike went into neutral going into turn one and I ended up crashing. That was the end of the weekend and I am just sad about it. I know our potential is really good so it makes it even more frustrating but after the summer break we will come back stronger in France.”

 

 

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