The German manufacturer featured prominently inside the top eight and both riders will look to build on a strong opening night
The BMW S 1000 RR looks set to be in a titanic battle for the leading position throughout the Motul Qatar Round, as both Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and his teammate Markus Reiterberger were inside the top eight after the opening night of action in Qatar. Both riders will be looking to build on strongly from the first two sessions of the weekend, whilst also eager to continue developing the all-new machine for 2019.
Featuring as the strongest BMW for most of the session, Markus Reiterberger was back into the top ten and returned to show his early season pace. The German rider eventually finished eighth and behind teammate Tom Sykes, after the 2013 WorldSBK Champion knocked him down a spot. Huddersfield’s finest rose to the occasion and pinched sixth spot, less than half-a-second from the top three.
Speaking after the first night of action, Sykes commented on his performance: “We really worked hard today, we are struggling in some areas but made a few changes in the final moments of FP2 and found a setting which I was much more comfortable with. Obviously, we are still not where we need to be, but we will continue the progress made today into tomorrow and hopefully put together some good results for the races.”
Whilst Sykes is confirmed alongside Eugene Laverty at the Shaun Muir Racing-run BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, Markus Reiterberger is yet to be confirmed anywhere on the grid. A strong weekend for the German rider this weekend could put him firmly in the shop window and remind teams and managers what he is capable of.
Reviewing day one at the Losail International Circuit, Reiterberger said: “I am really happy, finally back in the top ten. I noticed straight away when I went out for the first outing that I am feeling much more comfortable on the bike than at the previous couple of rounds. We’ve made some smaller amendments that suited me very well and made good use of the two practice sessions to evaluate the tyres and some changes. In FP1, I only rode with one set of tyres and I did my best lap time on the last lap. That’s not the case too often and made me pretty optimistic.
“In the second practice, we tested different tyres, and, in the end, I did constant times in the middle-to-high 1:58s. Overall, we gathered positive information. P8 in the top ten is good, I am relatively close to my teammate, so I think we can call that a successful day. We also found some things regarding the electronics that we could improve for the second practice which lead to that big progress. I’m grateful to the team for their hard work. Now we still have some things to adapt and we have to take a tyre decision as it seems that all tyres work very well. But overall all works pretty well so far."
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