Top five for Tom Sykes and the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team on Sunday at Navarra.

Navarra. BMW Motorrad Motorsport has rounded off the FIM
Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) race weekend at Navarra
(ESP) by meeting the objective of securing a top five result for the
BMW M 1000 RR. Tom Sykes (GBR) from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team
claimed fifth spot in race two on Sunday afternoon. His team-mate
Michael van der Mark (NED) was classified in ninth. Jonas Folger
(GER) from the Bonovo MGM Racing team finished twelfth, his
second-best race result of the season.


Sykes started the Superpole race in the morning from third place. He
fell back a little at the start, taking the chequered flag in sixth
after ten laps. Van der Mark improved from tenth on the grid to ninth
and moved up to seventh for a while, before losing a place and
crossing the line in eighth position. Folger slipped back several
places after starting from 14th but was able to regain ground with
some overtaking manoeuvres as the sprint race progressed and finished 16th.


Sunday saw a repeat of the previous day’s high temperatures and the
start of race two was delayed by ten minutes after a rider experienced
some issues on the grid. The lights went out at 14:10. After a
hard-fought first lap, Sykes and van der Mark had moved up from sixth
and eighth into fourth and fifth positions. However, Andrea Locatelli
(ITA, Yamaha) was able to pass van der Mark on lap three and overtook
Sykes one lap later. That put Sykes in fifth place, and he maintained
that top five position to the finish line after 22 laps. Van der Mark
was seventh for a large part of the race, but lost a place in the
closing stages and took the chequered flag in eighth position. After
the race, van der Mark was demoted by one place for exceeding track
limits on the final lap. Folger started the race from 14th on the
grid. After the start, he fell back briefly to 16th place but then
worked his way back up through the field, crossing the line in twelfth.


Navarra hosted the seventh round of the 2021 WorldSBK season. The
racing continues in two weeks at Magny-Cours, France, from 3rd to 5th September.


Quotes after race two at Navarra.


Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “That
was not an easy weekend for us, but we did manage to finish all three
races with Tom and Michael in the points. Jonas also scored points in
both main races. We didn’t do as well as expected in the Superpole
race this morning in the cooler conditions, however we did manage to
claim sixth and eighth on the grid. That was certainly an improvement
compared to the most recent races for Michael. It then paid off in the
second race. After both made a good start, we were in fourth and fifth
positions. Tom then fell back to fifth place but did some great
defending against Alex Lowes. Michael certainly had more of a battle
on his hands but compared to yesterday we closed the gap to the
leaders by seven seconds. That’s still not enough but it’s going in
the right direction. In the heat today, they both chose a different
front tyre to yesterday, which will have made the biggest difference –
and now we have to learn from that for the next high-temperature
events coming up in Spain and Portugal.”


Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team:
“It was a good step of improvement from yesterday. Tom rode
very well today; he dug really deep and withstood a lot of pressure
from Alex in the feature race and improved his overall race finish by
six or seven seconds from yesterday. Tom will be pleased with his
performance; we certainly are. A big shout out for him for that one.
Michael just kind of never got comfortable with the bike on the bumpy
circuit with a lot of front end chatter problems. He did well in his
Superpole Race to move up a row so that was good for his start. I
think he could have matched the pace of Alex and Tom in front of him
but he just had a couple of moments and it prevented him from keeping
that fifth, sixth, seventh position. Overall, it was not bad,
improvement from yesterday, we still have some work to do but we can’t
be too disappointed, so we can go away pretty happy.”


Tom Sykes, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “It was not a
bad weekend. With the high track temperatures, it was definitely a
challenging weekend. For the engines and for the riders, this kind of
temperatures got to the limit in the afternoon race. Overall we have
been trying to improve the set-up of the bike, certainly since as well
the hot test in Catalunya, but still we had some limitations. We had
some big problems in the race and we tried two different solutions
from the tyre but I had some limitations in some different aspects to
be fair. Even in race two I had some issues with turning and
understeer, also rear traction. I just worked hard to try to managing
the bike on brake pressure, in throttle openings and tried to make the
best race I could. I had a lot of pressure throughout the race but we
were able to deal with this. The best was lap one. We struggled to get
a run on anyone this weekend but there was a bit of confusion between
Alex Lowes and Andrea Locatelli and going into the turn at the end of
the back straight that was a good opportunity for me so I took that
and that gave me a good track position for the rest of the race.”


Michael van der Mark, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “It
was a tough Sunday. In this morning’s Superpole race I struggled quite
a lot with the front end of the bike. I just couldn’t attack anyone or
stay with anyone so I was a bit disappointed but anyway, I gained a
few starting positions for race two. I then had a good start but I
immediately felt that I was losing at the exits compared to the others
so I tried to push more on the front but I didn’t feel good and it was
quite a long and tough race. We need to improve that but at least we
got some points, we always keep trying and I am looking forward to
Magny-Cours now.”


Jonas Folger, Bonovo MGM Racing: “The Superpole race
was pretty good, even if the start didn’t work out, which was the case
for all three races. We had problems with the clutch at the start all
through the weekend, and we need to work on that now. My pace was good
in the second half of the Superpole race. The weather was also a bit
cooler, which generally suits us. After a difficult start to race two,
the pace was also OK. I am not entirely happy with the weekend but we
did score some points. Of course, some other riders took a tumble and
that helped us but I made it through OK and we achieved our objective
of scoring points.”