FIM EWC: BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team to start the 8 Hours of Sepang from fifth on the grid.

Sepang. The next challenge in the FIM Endurance World
Championship awaits the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and the
new #37 BMW S 1000 RR in the form of the 8 Hours of Sepang (MAS)
this Saturday (14th December). The team will start the race from
fifth place on the grid. Sepang hosts round two of the 2019/20
season, which is the team’s first in the FIM EWC. In the Malaysia
race, the #37 RR will be ridden by Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) and Markus
Reiterberger (GER). The team’s third rider, Kenny Foray (FRA),
unfortunately got injured in a crash in Wednesday’s practice and is
forced to sit out the rest of the weekend.


After test and practice sessions on Wednesday, two qualifying
sessions and the Top 10 Trial were held on Thursday. The BMW Motorrad
World Endurance Team was fourth after the qualifying sessions.
Reiterberger then set the fifth fastest time in the Top 10 Trial on
Thursday evening.


The eight-hour race at Sepang is a first in two regards. Firstly, the
5.5-kilometre ‘Sepang International Circuit’ in Malaysia is hosting
the FIM EWC for the first time. Secondly, the race weekend will be
held as a joint event with the FIA World Touring Car Cup. The ‘Races
of Malaysia’ is a unique double event, run by the two world
federations for motorcycles (FIM) and automobiles (FIA).


The 8 Hours of Sepang starts at 13:00 local time on Saturday. The
race also serves as a qualification race for the season finale, the
Suzuka 8 Hours (JPN) in July 2020. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance
Team #37 BMW S 1000 RR will be joined on the Sepang grid by a further
eight RRs, run by BMW customer teams.


In the summer, BMW Motorrad Motorsport expanded its factory
involvement with the new BMW S 1000 RR to the FIM EWC. The
newly-formed BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team made its debut at the
Bol d’Or held at Le Castellet (FRA) in September. Team Manager Werner
Daemen’s (BEL) outfit promptly finished third at the first attempt
with the #37 RR. Despite that success, the goal for the remaining
races remains unchanged and the 2019/20 season will serve as a
learning year, to further develop the endurance version of the RR.


Quotes ahead of the 8 Hours of Sepang.


Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “The
Sepang race is a new challenge for us for several reasons. It is only
the second race for our new project in the FIM EWC. We know the track
from 2016 from WorldSBK but it is new for the new BMW S 1000 RR and
the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team so the team first had to learn
it in the sessions completed so far. This is compounded by the fact
that Kenny unfortunately got injured and can’t continue to race at
Sepang, so Ilya and Markus have the difficult task of sharing duties
between them over the eight hours of racing in tropical conditions.
But we are confident that Ilya and Markus are fit enough to master the
physically demanding conditions – and also that the team is well
prepared. Over the past days, the squad has intensively worked on
setting the BMW S 1000 RR up for Sepang’s special requirements and
made good progress. P5 on the grid is a very satisfying result,
especially when you know that Markus got a wrong gear in the first
sector and lost a lot of time. We are optimistic and looking forward
to the race. And we wish Kenny a speedy recovery – get well soon,
Kenny! “


Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance
“After the difficult Wednesday with Kenny’s injury we
went to bed with mixed feelings, but then Thursday has been a very
good day for us. Ilya and Markus rode very well and in general,
qualifying has been pretty successful for us. Unfortunately, Kenny has
to sit out the rest of the weekend but we hope that he will be fully
fit again soon. Now we are looking forward to the race. We will try to
have a race without any issues and mistakes and then we will see what
we can achieve.”


Ilya Mikhalchik: “Qualifying was not so bad but also
not perfect. Unfortunately I could not use our full potential on the
fast lap as we had a small grip issue. But I am confident for the race
as we have a good race pace and this is more important than a fast lap
in qualifying. We are ready, even it will be difficult as Markus and
me have to share duties between us as two riders. I want to say get
well soon to our team-mate Kenny and hopefully we will soon be back
all together on the track.”


Markus Reiterberger: “Thursday was a good day. We’ve
made more progress with the bike, especially regarding the chassis and
the electronics. This for sure will help us on the race distance of
eight hours. Unfortunately, Kenny got injured on Wednesday, and Ilya
and me now have to ride as a two-rider line-up. I want to wish Kenny a
speedy recovery! Ilya and me shared duties and I think that we did a
good job. It was exciting to compete in the Top 10 Trial. I’ve
participated in many Superpoles but never in a format like this. It’s
great and I really like it. Unfortunately I made a small mistake which
cost some time, but fifth on the grid is not bad and now we will see
what we can achieve in the race. I think that we are a strong team and
well prepared.”


Kenny Foray: “The feeling with the bike here on this
track was really incredible and I enjoyed riding here. But then heavy
rain came on Wednesday afternoon and we did not ride a lot. When I
then went out for my first lap of the night practice I had a heavy
high-side. I am of course disappointed as it is the first time in my
career that I will miss a race. It’s a pity but know that my
team-mates are working really well and I am sure that they can do a
really good job. I cross my fingers for them and give them all my
support to get a good result on Saturday.”