BMW riders looking to continue improving in Thailand
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team are preparing for the Pirelli Thai Round at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram. The circuit, which will celebrate it’s fifth season of welcoming the WorldSBK paddock, holds a special place in the team’s riders’ memories, with Tom Sykes becoming the first rider to topple Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in 2016, whilst in the same year, Markus Reiterberger achieved his best WorldSBK finish to-date with fifth.
2013 WorldSBK champion Tom Sykes had a mixed opening round of the season at Phillip Island, with a good Tissot Superpole session on Saturday, before dropping back through the field throughout the weekend. The Huddersfield-ace, who has one win in Thailand, will look to make the most of his BMW S1000RR at the Chang International Circuit.
Ahead of the round, Sykes said: “It always great to come and race at the Buriram circuit here in Thailand. Obviously, my main focus this weekend is still to continue the development of the new BMW S 1000 RR. I’m feeling really confident in some ways but given our experience in the races at Phillip Island, one of my only concerns is in the two long straights with the speed deficit we have.
“However, the chassis on the BMW S 1000 RR is really good and is capable of taking on the rest of the field. I am looking forward to starting the race weekend and hope that we can continue the good progress made from winter test period. Roll on Friday!”
Markus Reiterberger has had a quietly impressive start to his returning WorldSBK campaign, with a 13th place in Race 1 and a 12th in Race 2 at Phillip Island. Having achieved three top-ten finishes in Buriram from four starts, with a career-best of fifth in Race 1 in 2016 (his first appearance at the circuit).
Looking to make a return to the top ten in WorldSBK for the first time since a ninth at home at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in 2017, Reiterberger said: “I really like Thailand. Firstly, because my best result in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship came there – fifth place in 2016. Secondly, because the track really suits my riding style.
There are a lot of sections where you have to brake hard, which is my strength and something our new RR is also very good at. We just have to try not to lose too much on the long straights and then to make up in the corners what we are still currently losing on the straights.
However, we are all working hard and I think that Thailand can be a good hunting ground for us. The heat will make it challenging for everyone, but we are well prepared and I believe we can have a good weekend. I am determined to do well and already looking forward to the weekend, as I really like the track and we found a positive trend in Phillip Island, which we will now carry into the race in Thailand.”
Tom Sykes has never qualified on pole in Buriram and should he achieve this, he will give BMW as a manufacturer their second ever pole position – the first and so-far only pole position coming in 2010 at Misano with Troy Corser.
Watch all the action from the Pirelli Thai Round with the WorldSBK Videopass!