Speaking about one of their harder weekends of the season, Marc Bongers, Scott Redding and Michael van der Mark gave their thoughts after a bruising weekend in Barcelona
The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship enjoyed a memorable Catalunya Round at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, although it may well want to be a weekend to forget for BMW, with the manufacturer enduring one of their hardest rounds of 2022 thus far. Both teams, the factory BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and the Bonovo Action BMW outfit had a tricky time of things, something that the manufacturer’s highest placed rider in the Championship, Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), predicted, although perhaps not to the degree it was.
Starting with the factory team, Redding and teammate Michael van der Mark had an uphill task from the start; whilst Redding was on the fringes of the top ten in Friday’s Free Practice, he would fail to make the top ten on the grid for the first time since Assen, starting 13th. It wasn’t much better for van der Mark, who qualified down on the seventh row in 19th. For the first time since Jerez in 2021, there was no BMW representation inside the top ten in Superpole, with Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) and teammate Eugene Laverty having qualified in 14th and 16th respectively.
In the races, it was a hard set of results Redding crashed out in Race 1 whilst it was Eugene Laverty who came through to tenth and take top BMW honours. Baz was directly behind him whilst van der Mark was caught up in a Lap 1 accident at Turn 2 with Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team), which he was given a Long Lap Penalty for. Then, with 12 laps to go, he suffered a technical problem – a second of the weekend after an engine change on Friday – ending the factory’s hopes. Sunday wasn’t much better with both Redding and van der Mark crashing: van der Mark in the Superpole Race after serving his long lap penalty and Redding’s a spectacularly fast crash at the last corner at the end of the first lap in Race 2. The saviour of the day was Loris Baz, taking two ninth places, enjoying his best points haul since Donington Park, although Redding achieved the best BMW result of the weekend with eighth in the Tissot Superpole Race.
Giving an overview of the weekend, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers was disappointed: “It was a very mixed weekend for us with a few retirements, some of which came about as a result of falls. We were definitely unable to meet our own expectations. Scott fell twice in the main races. He had a relatively good Superpole Race which made us a bit more optimistic. If you look at his times, the top eight would have been possible for him in Race 2. Michael also had a very difficult weekend with a defect in the first race and a fall in the Superpole race. That made it difficult to work on the setup and achieve more in Race 2. We’ll analyse it now and see what insights we can gain.
“The Bonovo action BMW Racing Team overcame the challenges here well. The objective for the team this season is reaching the top ten, and they achieved that in all three races. However, the gap to the leaders is too large for everyone and we have to work on that. At Portimao, we will be right back where we belong.”
Speaking about his weekend, Redding commented: “Sunday was a little bit better than Saturday when I struggled a lot. We were fighting for sixth position but ended up eighth. Then in the main race in the afternoon, we had to go for the harder option front tyre which I also crashed on yesterday. We put on that tyre again because of the temperatures and we think it was the right way to go. Then I crashed again on the first lap. Overall, I’m OK, a little bit sore on the knee, so I will be fit for the next race, but I’m a little bit disappointed with our performance this weekend but you’ve got to take the bad with the good.”
Teammate Michael van der Mark echoed Redding: “It has been a tough weekend. We’ve had too many issues with the bike and also this morning I had a small crash in the Superpole Race. But to be fair, I felt really good and strong in that race. I had to serve a long lap penalty. I did it and had a good pace but unfortunately at Turn 7, I got sucked in and I just had to run off the track and crashed. That was a shame because in the Superpole Race, I had a good feeling and a good pace. For Race 2, we knew the race would be long for the tyres so I saved the rear tyre a bit in the beginning, but from the start I didn’t have a good feeling with the front so I couldn’t push as I did this morning. It was a long race, we knew there was a big drop coming, but unfortunately, at the end, I had such a big drop that I got passed by two other riders. Not easy, not where I want to be but on the other hand, I am happy to do a full race distance because this is what I need.”
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