Firing up for 2021: BMW kickstart testing programme with Jerez outing

Wednesday, 24 March 2021 16:02 GMT

With a new bike coming for 2021, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and Bonovo MGM Racing completed a three-day test at Jerez

The new BMW M 1000 RR hit the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for a three-day test over the course of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, with riders Tom Sykes and new recruit Michael van der Mark, were joined by 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship rookie Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing) as the trio tested the new machine in the south of Spain. The factory outfit, consisting of Sykes and van der Mark, saw both riders complete over 200 laps each at the Andalusian venue under the sun, as they look to join the fight for supremacy in 2021.

The test got underway on Monday with two of the three BMW teams in action, with Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse) not present at Jerez. This meant Sykes, van der Mark and Folger would be in action as they looked to continue the development of the M 1000 RR ahead of it entering WorldSBK competition in 2021. For the upcoming season, BMW will be represented by two riders in the factory team with Folger and Laverty on BMW machinery in satellite outfits.

Sykes spent a lot of time working on many new parts and chassis configurations, whilst van der Mark also got familiar with the bike and worked through new test items. The focus of the test was on new engine components, chassis configurations and updated electronics, leading to both riders giving the same feedback on most of the parts. This will allow the team to continue to work in the right direction and also confirms that the bike has been developed in the correct direction before hitting the track.

Van der Mark will join the BMW factory outfit for 2021 after four years competing with the PATA Yamaha WorldSBK Team outfit and got one of his first outings on the new machine as he aims to help the German manufacturer move back up the order in 2021 as they introduce the new bike. The Dutchman finished the 2020 season with four podiums in the final nine races of the season, as well as six top-five finishes, and will be looking to continue that form into 2021.

Folger, like van der Mark, is switching from Yamaha to BMW machinery in 2021 after two wildcard appearances in 2020 where he consistently showed his ability as he fought to finish in the top ten at both the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and the Circuito de Estoril, despite a technical issue in the Tissot Superpole session in Barcelona. 2021 will be his first full-time campaign in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship after a commanding season in the German superbike championship, as well as claiming wins in Moto2™, Moto3™ and the 125cc World Championship throughout his career.

Talking at the conclusion of the three days at Jerez, team principal Shaun Muir commented on the BMW breakthrough, saying: “I’m very pleased for Michael and for Tom, they’ve worked together and very hard, and it seems like a very good pairing of teammates. My guys and the team have worked very hard too, as have the BMW engineers. I’m very happy with the addition of new personnel within the team as well as a new structure. I hope this allows us to progress and move closer to the front.

“We leave Jerez in a very positive attitude, all the guys in the team can have a couple of days rest and then we will head to the Barcelona test, where we will compare our overall pace and lap times again. It is clear that we are in a good area and we are happy to complete the test and move forward.”

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