WorldSBK at Magny-Cours: Front row of the grid for Tom Sykes; top-five in race one for Michael van der Mark.

Magny-Cours. The FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK)
is at Magny-Cours (FRA) this weekend for round eight of the 2021
season. In Superpole on Saturday morning, Tom Sykes (GBR) from the
BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team finished third to secure another place on
the front row of the grid on his BMW M 1000 RR. In the afternoon’s
opening race, his team-mate Michael van der Mark (NED) finished
fifth, while Sykes crossed the finish line in ninth place. Jonas
Folger (GER) from the Bonovo MGM Racing Team came home 16th.


Sykes was once again one of the top riders in Superpole qualifying.
The Brit briefly topped the timings, and eventually secured third
place and a spot on the front row of the grid with a time of 1:35.919
minutes. Van der Mark, who was unable to take to the track in the
morning’s third free practice session due to a technical issue
qualified ninth. Folger was 19th in qualifying.


The air temperature rose to 26 degrees Celsius for the start of the
race in the afternoon, resulting in a track temperature of 40 degrees
Celsius. Starting third, Sykes dropped several positions at the start,
while van der Mark climbed into sixth place before falling back to
ninth again. On lap three, Sykes went very wide in turn five and
slotted back into the field in twelfth place. Meanwhile, van der Mark
had improved to seventh and soon took sixth place. The Dutchman
remained in that position until lap 17 of 21, when Alex Lowes (GBR /
Kawasaki) crashed in front of him, handing van der Mark fifth place –
a position he retained through to the finish. Sykes was involved in a
number of battles throughout the whole race in a fiercely-competitive
group of riders. After 21 laps of racing, he crossed the finish line
ninth. Folger initially dropped back at the start, but made some
progress through the field in the second half of the race to finish 16th.


Quotes after race one at Magny-Cours.


Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team:
“Tom did a great job in Superpole, and we know he can do
that. His lap wasn’t a clean lap either so he was a bit disappointed
not to get pole, but happy with a front row start. Tom’s race was bit
disappointing for him; he had the pace to be with Michael, but he was
getting beaten up and pushed about a bit which disrupted his rhythm,
so he is not happy with ninth position. Mickey had a really difficult
day. We had a technical issue this morning and lost a lot of time
which was valuable for us. So, to qualify in P9 was not so bad for him
considering he’s not mastered qualifying on the BMW M 1000 RR yet. But
typical Michael van der Mark, he grits his teeth, he gets his head
down and battles his way and gets stronger and stronger as the race
goes on which will do his confidence the world of good. So, we can put
today behind us and focus on tomorrow and hopefully have a clean warm
up and go into the Superpole race and race two strong.”


Michael van der Mark, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “I
think if you look at the result it isn’t that bad, but it’s a shame I
lost so much time in this morning’s session. In the races, I had a
good feeling with the bike and we wanted to try something different in
FP3, but we couldn’t do so. So now in the race I am struggling a
little bit and unsure whether yesterday’s setting was better or not.
But anyway, I am happy with the points, and I am looking forward to
tomorrow’s two races.”


Tom Sykes, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “It was
another good Superpole but I am disappointed with the race today, and
disappointed at not being able to race with the other bikes. Riding in
the group, we struggled with the engine temperature and braking
performance all through the race unfortunately. We were quicker in the
turns but couldn’t get close on the straights to make a pass on the
brakes. So, it was a frustrating race but we will have to have another
go tomorrow.”


Jonas Folger, Bonovo MGM Racing: “After the really
promising practice sessions, the race was really tough. I am finding
it pretty difficult to get up to speed. With a full tank I had
problems overtaking. It took a long time to pass one or two other
riders. As soon as I was able to ride in my own style later in the
race, things were much better. I hope we can find something for Sunday.”