The German manufacturer secured its best result of the season at Catalunya and started the French Round with a strong performance
After securing a fifth and seventh-placed finish at the Pirelli Spanish Round, the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team started the Pirelli French Round with both Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty inside the top ten at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as the German manufacturer looks to end the season strongly.
The conditions were challenging as riders hit the track for the first time in Free Practice 1 and stayed that way all through the day with cooler air temperatures than other races throughout 2020, with the track not drying throughout the day as the rain consistently fell in France. It meant teams spent the day running on Pirelli’s wet tyres for the round.
Tom Sykes, who finished the day in sixth reacted to the difference in conditions, saying: “I think everyone’s in the same situation and we’ve also been able to adapt as well, the chassis certainly seems to like the cooler conditions. In the wet, as well, we just seem to be a little bit closer to where we need to be. For now, we’ll gather the information we have, and get ourselves ready for Saturday when racing starts.”
Sykes finished less than a second away from the pace setting Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) with Laverty in ninth trailing by 1.192s behind Gerloff and three tenths away from his teammate, although he did not get a full Free Practice 1 run due to an issue with his bike.
Laverty said: “I really enjoyed it. I lost a little bit of running this morning with an issue with the bike and I didn’t get to go out for a second run but in the afternoon, I did a lot of laps and proved to be fast and consistent. The grip level from the rear was really high so I had to push the bike to really feel the limit. The exit grip was fantastic, and I think we maybe need a little bit of entry grip but we’re not far away as it is.”
The BMW duo will be hoping to continue this form in the cooler Magny-Cours conditions throughout the weekend, with Tissot Superpole and Race 1 on Saturday. With the cooler weather currently forecast to stay for the rest of the French Round, it could be a strong weekend for BMW.
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