It was a busy two-day test for the factory BMW outfit as for the first time since May, they had full strength on both sides of the garage
The summer test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has punctuated the mid-season break in the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. Two days of track action saw all factory teams put new items to the test. One team working hard was the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and riders Scott Redding and the returning Michael van der Mark. Whilst for van der Mark it was about getting up to speed, Redding worked extensively on electronics and also on a new braking system from Nissin. We caught up with both of them, as BMW continue to stride forward with the M1000RR.
REDDING FINDS STEPS: new brakes “good step”, “still need exit drive”
Reviewing his day of testing, Redding said: “We had some stuff to try, and we tried in the morning when the track was a bit cooler, but it’s still hard here to know if something is better or not because with the long corners, it’s difficult. Coming up to midday, I felt like I had to work on electronics again and throttle connection, and we found something in that area where we feel we know the direction we need to work in for the next steps. It’s not something that will happen overnight, but it was good. The track was really hot, we weren’t really gaining anything, so we went in the electronics area and it seemed better. We will have to fine-tune it a bit more to make it race ready.
“I tried the new front tyre from Pirelli, which was really good, but the life of it wasn’t as good. I did two four-lap stints, so a total of eight laps. We had new brakes from Nissin to try again because on Saturday, we only did a couple of laps, they were a bit better as well, so I was quite happy with the step of that as well. It was a different system in general, with the power, we just need to work on feeling.
“We had a couple of chassis things to try in order to find some grip but it didn’t really hit the spot, so we came back to what we knew and then worked in other areas. We got that done and then worked in things that we didn’t expect to work in, which was the electronics, so I am glad that we had time to do that.”
Going into further detail about the electronics, Redding commented: “It’s a matter of calming everything down with the way the traction control is working; having a test and now that I am more used to the bike, things are better. At the beginning of the year, I wanted to take this route, but they didn’t want it to go in that way because they’ve had it set and I thought, ‘OK, maybe I need to be on the bike more’ but now, I understand more the direction that I want to go and we’ll work in that way. Now we’re actually testing things; we know our base package is competitive and maybe in Barcelona, it was one of the more difficult circuits, but we’ve been competitive over the last two rounds. You can start to look in those areas now; before, we were so far that we were looking for big things to change and not the electronics, whilst now we are looking at electronics.”
Talking about where the bike still needs to improve, exit drive was Redding’s main point from Barcelona: “We still need exit drive; I followed the Ducatis today and I know what it was like last year here, and they’ve found a step with a new swingarm. It was clear to me because when I was behind them, I was like, ‘they’ve done a good job in that area, now they don’t lose so much in sector two and now, I am what they were last year’. We do have work to do and it’s possible to find potential, but it’s an area to look at in terms of edge grip and pick-up point.
“It’d be nice to have some more updates on swingarm, electronics and engine, it’s always good but we have a base now that we need to work on a little bit, but if we can get another upgrade before the end of the year, that would be great as well. Going to Magny-Cours, I think the work we’ve done on the electronics is something I’d like to implement, but it will need some work back with the guys at the factory to get it settled, but it has potential. It’s just settings and how everything is working, about balancing things and doing things a little bit in my way because I feel that it’s better.”
VAN DER MARK: “I’m still getting back into the rhythm… new swingarm was positive”
Getting back on his factory M1000RR for the first time since Estoril in May, Michael van der Mark’s return was mainly focused on getting up to speed: “We had some issues at the beginning of the day but later on, we were trying quite a lot. To be fair, I felt alright, but I haven’t been riding properly for some time. I’m still getting back into the rhythm and it’s tough, particularly with the weather and the track conditions but I think overall, it wasn’t too bad. We knew what we had to try but this test for me was mainly to get back up to speed; I wasn’t as fast as I wanted to be, but we still have three weeks to get ready for Magny-Cours.”
He tried the new swingarm for the first time and his comments echoed those of Redding’s, back when he first tried it; “The new swingarm was positive and a good step forward, but it’s not the complete package yet. We still need to improve more to fight with the front guys; for sure, after seeing Scott’s results and hearing a lot about it, I was very curious to find out. We have the same comments, so this is really positive, but it’s a decent step forward.”
Concluding, van der Mark stated that turning the M1000RR was still an area he needs to be improved: “We need to find a solution to make the bike turn a bit better and easier because we’re still using quite a lot of track, especially compared to all the others. It’ll make life easier if the bike is turning a bit better but it’s a common thing that we’ve already had for a while. The pick-up of the bike is better compared to last year, so we are improving but it’s just small steps.”
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