The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team stepped onto the podium at the Turkish debut of the FIM Superbike World Championship. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finished second on his BMW S 1000 RR in today’s first race at “Intercity Istanbul Park”. In race two, he was fourth.
At the start of race one, both BMW factory riders gained positions. Marco improved from seventh to fifth, Chaz from eighth to sixth. After the first lap, Marco was in fourth while Chaz was sitting in seventh. In the early stages, Marco lost a bit to the leading trio, but halfway through the race he started to catch up and closed the gap to the top 3 with every lap. On lap 14, he overtook Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) to take third, entering lap 16 he passed Tom Sykes (GBR) for second.
He then tried to close the gap to leader Laverty but the Irishman was too far away to catch him up in the remaining laps. Marco rode his RR to second on the podium behind Laverty. Chaz meanwhile was fighting in a group of four and was temporarily lying in fifth. But a massive lack of grip meant he could not hold the position. Throughout the race he lost positions and crossed the line in eighth.
In race two, Marco was sixth after lap one, Chaz seventh. In the early stages of the race, they were involved in several battles, gaining positions. After lap six, Marco was fourth and Chaz sat in sixth. But this time, Marco struggled to catch up with the front runners and the gap increased throughout the race. In the end, he rode a lonely race to finish fourth. Chaz had a better feeling on his RR in this race. On lap 16 he improved to fifth, but lost one position again on the final lap to come home in sixth.
Marco Melandri (Result Race 1: 2nd / Gap to 1st: 0:02.009 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:56.102 min (lap 8) - Result Race 2: 4th / Gap to 1st: 0:10.860 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:56.265 min (lap 4): “In race one, I lost a lot of time in the first laps. With a new tyre our bike is always very nervous. On the first lap I had to shut the throttle on the straight as the bike was shaking too much.
But then after ten laps, because there was less fuel the bike became lighter and it was easier to ride. At that time I was quite fast and I caught up with the top guys. But when I passed Tom, Eugene was already very far away and for me, second place was already a very good result.
After race one, we made some changes to the setting of the bike but, probably because of the higher track temperature, the grip went down. We tried to balance the bike with some changes to the rear but as consequence, I started struggling with the front.
I couldn’t be fast entering the corner and I had some issues trying to brake. In the end I could not get the same result as in race one. We have still three races to go and, even if it’ll not be easy, I continue to believe. I want to fight and give my best in each race.”
Chaz Davies (Result Race 1: 8th / Gap to 1st: 0:21.491 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:56.082 min (lap 2) - Result Race 2: 6th / Gap to 1st: 0:12.396 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:56.354 min (lap 2): “After missing a lot of track time yesterday, it was difficult today. In the time available, we struggled to find a good set-up. I was lacking grip on the front and the rear and also struggling with the stability and balance. I was not happy with race one.
After warm-up, we made a small change to the balance to try and find more grip in the rear but it just made the front worse. It was so easy to lose the front; I think that happened to me 10 to 15 times throughout the race. I couldn’t enter the corner fast; every time I tried to use the front brake with any lean angle I would tuck the front and not only that but I also struggled with rear grip. I wasn’t able to do any better so that was very frustrating.
I was much happier with race two which was definitely better. It was half the gap to the leaders than in race one but in the end it was not good enough. We really made a step in the right direction but we could not completely solve the issues we had in race one. I think a third race would have suited us today. I am not sure if I would have been in podium contention then but for sure we would have further improved and would come even closer.”
Andrea Buzzoni (General Manager BMW Motorrad WSBK): “Today’s results were not what we expected. Marco rode the first race in a very clever way. In the first few laps he was a little slower than the leading group. Then he increased the rhythm, closing the gap to the front, and was second at the finish line. Maybe with two more laps, he could have been in first position.
This result brought him closer to the top of the riders' ranking. In race two, on the contrary, something didn’t work and he couldn’t repeat the result. In the end the gap to the lead in the ranking has increased a little. But regarding the championship that does not affect us too much: we’re still in the game and we have to keep concentrated.
Chaz couldn’t find the right balance and the performance of the bike which all of us expected during this weekend. Unfortunately he had to limit the damage. Looking to the championship ranking, the gap has increased, but he can still fight. We are heading Laguna Seca where we have good conditions to get a good result.
Our riders like the track and both know it very well from already riding there. In addition the track fits very well to the characteristics of our RR. We have to achieve a great result to continue to fight for the title.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “Congratulations to Marco for his podium in race one. He put in another strong performance here in Istanbul, a track where he has been successful in the past. But overall we have to say that our competitors have done a better job than us today.
Even if Marco was able to get the maximum of the package in race one, he was struggling in race two. As soon as the track temperatures increased, he was lacking grip and struggling with stability. Chaz had some issues in race one, where he was not comfortable with the bike. Unfortunately, due to the limited track time, the set-up was not perfect for race one.
His crew improved the bike for race two but it still was not enough. The main areas we have to work on are grip and stability. Our target is to improve that for the next round at Laguna Seca. We must keep working hard in order to prepare best for the next races. The championship is still open.”