WORDS FROM PITLANE: "Great to come back to the office with loads of trophies… we are in for a good round!"

Friday, 19 April 2024 11:03 GMT

Friday’s practice sessions were the perfect chance to catch up with some key figures form the pit lane to reflect on the season so far or the potential at Assen…

With the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship heading to the TT Circuit Assen for Round 3 of the enthralling 2024 campaign, the practice sessions on Friday gave the perfect opportunity to talk to key figures from the paddock. Topics included the season so far, previous wins sinking in and the potential at Assen, the first round with no testing directly before it this season.

SINKING IN: “It took me a couple of days to react to the messages!”

Speaking in FP1 about whether BMW’s wins in Barcelona had sunk in yet, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers said: “It has, we had three weeks for it to sink in, but it was really great to come back to the office with loads of trophies even going to the canteen there were so many people who came up to me, and it took me a couple of days to react to the messages and of course, at the same time it pushed the expectations further but we are positive and prepared.”

GRT YAMAHA HOPES: “Both our riders could potentially fight at the front…”

Both Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and teammate Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) have been quick in 2024. Discussing whether they could fight at the front at Assen, Team Manager Filippo Conti said: “The Australian Round and the Barcelona Round were two interesting weekends where we improved and worked a lot, they were not the best track for us, but we got some good results and experience. Now is the time to push and the time to get a good result and performance as expected. Both of our riders could potentially fight at the front, but I think we are in for a good round to show off our potential.”

WET WEATHER IMPACT: “It is impossible to say what his potential is…”

Rain fell on Friday and the weather at Assen is always unpredictable. After a strong start to Andrea Iannone's (Team GoEleven) rookie campaign, Team Manager Denis Sacchetti spoke about the #29’s potential at Assen should it rain: “This time here at Assen is the first round this year with no testing. However, Andrea knows this track well, which is good, but it is his first time on a Superbike, and he needs time on track to understand how to ride a Superbike on this circuit. It is impossible to say what his potential is as we don’t have data in the wet conditions, so we will see.”

EXPERIENCE COUNTS: “It’s more just passing on experience… using the body to help the Pirelli tyres”

Leon Camier is working with Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) and explained what advice he can give to the #14. He said: "Sam started really well, his naturally speed is super good and more of this is just helping him with tyres and how a Superbike reacts around these circuits. It is more just passing on experience, and I’ve been on track at every circuit so far trying to watch and looking at a few areas where we can improve like using the body to help the Pirelli tyres and get the bike stood up, just small details but as I said the speed is here naturally and we just have to work on the details but given a bit of time and experience, we have already seen him leading races earlier on this year and we are trying to work on a set up to try and give him a better package at the end of the races."

EXPECTATIONS AT YAMAHA: “let’s not put pressure on the rider or the crew… soon or later, he will be on the top step of the podium”

Discussing what he thinks Yamaha can do at Assen, Andrea Dosoli, Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager said: “For sure, it’s not the start that we expected, but we have only done two rounds, so there are elements to be positive. We know what Jonathan has done at this track so let’s not put pressure on the rider or the crew, they are working hard to improve the feeling for Jonathan. I am sure in Assen we can improve the performance together. Locatelli was very close in Phillip Island without the incident that he had during the last lap and the bad in Race 2 in Barcelona, Andrea would be top three in the Championship. It is not a matter of when the first win will come, it is a matter to keep improving, his feeling is very good with the crew and sooner or later he will be there at the top step of the podium.”

A STEP COMING AT MISANO? “We’re working on the characteristics of the engine and dynamics of the bike”

It’s been a season of struggle so far, but Team HRC Team Manager Jose Escamez is optimistic for a step forward soon. He said: “As I said in the past, we are trying to analyse what is best for our bike, and it is that every rider has a different riding style, and what works for one rider may not work for another. We are still on that line and we are trying to analyse what is the best for everyone. On that line, I think we will make some steps for Misano. We are working on the characteristics of the engine and also the dynamics of the bike. We are more focused on the engine but also, at the same time, the chassis, and these dynamics are another point that we have to put some effort into.”

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