After being impacted by rain at Portimao and Jerez, BMW opted for two days in Valencia to conclude a busy week for the team
It was a challenging week for the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team as they went in search of valuable dry weather running to prepare for the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship with Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark. Initially planning for a day at Portimao and then two days at Jerez, the team ended up travelling across the Iberian Peninsula and their unexpected and unplanned ‘week’ of testing concluded in Valencia.
THE STORY OF THE WEEK: trying to run away from rain
Initially, the team planned to test at Portimao on December 4th before heading to Jerez on December 5th an 6th. However, with poor weather forecast, the #54 took to the track on the 3rd before getting limited running across the two days. Razgatlioglu and van der Mark didn’t fare much better in southern Spain either, with rain continuing to hamper their running. Due to this, the team opted to – spontaneously, according to BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers – head a bit further across Spain to Valencia where they were able to get some key laps in to allow the 2021 Champion to adapt to the M 1000 RR while the #60 was able to test some new components for 2024.
RAZGATLIOGLU’S REVIEW: “Now I know the grip and the reactions; this makes me very happy”
After four years on the Yamaha YZF-R1 machine which he won the 2021 title with, the Turk left the Japanese manufacturer to join BMW for 2024. Portimao was his first taste of his new machine, and he’s been looking to adapt to it since. Reviewing the test, the 27-year-old said: “We have not really been lucky over these past days. Also in Valencia, it started to rain a bit on Friday morning and the track was fully wet. But this track dries really fast and we could ride again in the afternoon. We made big improvements, especially on the last three outings, and I am really enjoying the BMW M 1000 RR. Especially with the engine brake and the electronics we made big improvements. With every lap I am still learning my bike but now I know it, I know the grip and the reactions, and this makes me very happy. I am still learning because it is a completely different bike, but we did a very good job, especially on the final day. Thanks to all the guys because everyone really works hard to give me a good bike. I am still adapting to the bike and the guys in the team are learning my riding style, so it is teamwork. But we are not far off, we are coming, the feedback also has been better every day.”
“THE TEST BIKE HAD A LOT OF NEW ITEMS ON IT” – busy Valencia for van der Mark
After two injury-hit campaigns, van der Mark will be hoping 2024 will have him return to his best and see out a full season. He is the reference of the team, having been on BMW machinery since 2021, which also means he’s able to test components looking at next season while his teammate gets adjusted to the new bike. Discussing his test, where he worked with the BMW test team which was announced to feature 2014 WorldSBK Champion Sylvain Guintoli and two-time MotoGP™ podium finisher Bradley Smith, the Dutchman said: “It has been really nice to get to Valencia. In the end, we got a day and a half in. On Thursday evening, it rained again so Friday was a bit cut short. But it was really good for me to finally do laps. In the end, I was working with the test team and the test bike which had a lot of new items on it for next year. It was nice to do some longer runs with that bike and I think that the guys have enough data now to work over winter and to prepare everything for the end of January.”
THE TEAM SAYS: “Great to welcome Toprak to the team… his initial impressions have been very positive”
With a new arrival, the make up of the test team announced and BMW aiming to make a big step in 2024, these tests have been crucial for the German manufacturer although they tested without their rivals, so making a comparison is hard. Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director, reviewed the tests and stated: “After the Bonovo Action BMW team tested with Garrett Gerloff and Scott Redding immediately after the season finale at Jerez, we now have been able to start testing with Toprak Razgatlioglu, Michael van der Mark, and the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. Overall, it was great to welcome Toprak to the team. His initial impressions of the BMW M 1000 RR he conveyed to us have been very positive. He adapted well to the bike right away. However, the conditions were challenging, and we had no reference from the competition. Therefore, making an assessment is still difficult. The days in Portugal and Spain were demanding. The weather was not on our side. Initially, we had some bad luck in Portimao and could only complete a few laps; the situation was no better in Jerez. Since it was crucial to gather test information, we spontaneously travelled to Valencia with Michael and Toprak to hit the track there together with our BMW Motorrad Motorsport test team. Michael also tested new components with the test team that will be available to the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and the Bonovo Action BMW team for the upcoming season.”
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