BMW Motorrad preview for Donington Park

The British “Donington Park Circuit” is the venue not only of the first ever victory, but also the first ever one-two for the German manufacturer in the Superbike World Championship.

Munich/Milan, 20th May 2013. For the fifth round of the 2013 Superbike World Championship, the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team heads to a track which plays an important role in the history of BMW Motorrad. The British “Donington Park Circuit” is the venue not only of the first ever victory, but also the first ever one-two for the German manufacturer in the Superbike World Championship. Still today, everyone at BMW Motorrad remembers the moment when the BMW S 1000 RRs of factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) and his then team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) crossed the finish line in race one at last year’s Donington round.

Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri
Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri

Photo by: BMW AG

Last year’s success was the first of nine victories in total so far for BMW Motorrad in this series. Three of them have been celebrated in the first four rounds of the 2013 season. New factory rider Chaz Davies (GBR) won both races at Spanish “Motorland Aragón”, while Marco climbed the top step of the podium at his home round at Monza.

Despite some bad luck and issues, the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team has built on the successes BMW Motorrad achieved in 2012 and secured the manufacturer’s best ever start to a Superbike World Championship season. After four rounds, Marco and Chaz share six podium positions and two fastest race laps between them. Together, they have already collected 190 points for the team. After the first four rounds of the 2012 season, the factory team had 140.5 points and two third places on its tally.

In the Manufacturers’ classification, BMW is second with 144 points, 28 points behind the lead. These are 48 points more than after the first four rounds in 2012, when BMW was fourth on 96 points with a gap of 44.5 points to the front. In the current Riders’ classification, Marco is fourth with 96 points; Chaz sits in fifth with 94 points. Both riders like the Donington circuit. Marco has won there twice in as many years competing in the WSBK series, while for Chaz it is his first home round of the season. The race takes place on British soil, but is held under the European flag.

Marco Melandri: “I really love Donington. Here I got my first Superbike win with Yamaha in 2011 and the first victory in the history of BMW in the series last year. This is a technical track, quite different from Monza. In Donington you never shift to sixth gear while in Monza you use it three times. The two chicanes in the last part of the Donington circuit seem to be there to keep the field close together. The race will be very open and hard-fought, and if it does not rain, it will be very exciting.

We head to Donington in a better position than last year, even if we did not have a perfect start to the season. In Monza I found the right feeling with the RR. Now I can ride it in the best way and be competitive. I’m looking forward to Donington and I feel really confident. Now I want to fight for the podium at every race and, when it’s possible, I want to win.”

Chaz Davies: “I am looking forward to my first home round. It is always good to meet up with friends and family and to feel the support of your home crowd. Donington was the first proper circuit I rode on, so I have special memories of it – especially the first part of the circuit is enjoyable. To go through ‘Craner Curves’ is quite a challenge. Overall, there are two completely different styles of track. You have the fast first part and then the hard braking second part so it is difficult to find a compromise with the set-up.

I hope that we will have a smooth and normal weekend. I will try to do a good qualifying and then we will see. Marco was very fast there last year, so the team should have some good data to start with.”

Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “Donington is a completely different circuit than Monza. It has no long straights but is a technical and awesome track which our riders really love. My only concern is about the weather. As usual in Great Britain, it is always unpredictable and can change really fast without notice. I hope we’ll have stable weather conditions. In Monza, Marco returned to being competitive – he got back his good feeling with the bike and he rode to victory again. Chaz too showed a good performance, even if he unfortunately crashed in race two while riding very fast. This makes us really confident for the next race in Donington. We will do our best to maintain continuity in performance and to stay successful.”

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “After the great result achieved in Monza we are now heading to a very special racetrack, not only for its technical requirements but also for the nice memories we’ve got from there. It’s at Donington where BMW celebrated its maiden win in the series, so it became a special racetrack for us. Finding the right setting for Donington is not an easy task, it’s always a matter of compromise: the first part of the track is fast and flowing with the famous ‘Craner curves’, while the last part is tortuous with two slow hairpins. So again it will be a difficult challenge for our engineers but we’re convinced that our RR will suit the characteristics of this track as per last year.

The work done on Marco’s bike before Monza will be evaluated and continued on a track with a different layout, as he’s always looking for the front end confidence. Chaz, due to a series of unlucky circumstances, didn’t achieve the results in Monza that he was hoping for. In Donington, at his home race, he will be back fighting for a place on the podium.”

Donington from Pirelli’s point of view: At Donington Park, historically the weather has been the biggest unknown factor and, precisely for this reason, Pirelli will provide the riders with a vast choice of solutions that, in terms of compound hardness, covers the entire range available. Especially in the first part of the circuit great stability is required for the front end. Consequently the main goal of the front tyre must be to hold its conformation as much as possible and to guarantee the support needed to manage downhill turns. On the other hand, the rear tyres are affected mainly by the sharp and violent acceleration phases which are typical of the track. In cold weather conditions the tread compound, especially the softer ones, struggles to reach proper operating temperatures and, because of the high rigidity properties, risks suffering lacerations and surface tears in acceleration. Wear from tearing tends to decrease greatly with high temperatures. On the other hand, however, in these conditions the track generally provides very poor grip.

For the Superbike class, Pirelli will bring three different slick solutions for the front and four for the rear, in addition to the rear qualifier and the intermediate solutions and the wet tyres. The choice of slicks for the front anticipates two SC1 soft compound solutions and a medium compound SC2. In fact, both the standard SC1 (R426) and SC2 (R982) will be present as well as the S41 development SC1 which was already seen at Aragón and Assen as an alternative to the standard SC1 and designed for the purpose of guaranteeing greater mechanical stability.

On the rear included in the dry solutions will be the new standard SC0 soft solution (R1261). The SC0 provides maximum contact area on smooth asphalt and maximum traction development at high temperatures, in addition to its greater performance stability under thermal decline. However, if temperatures are not high enough, the riders will be able to count on another three alternatives: the standard SC1 (R828), which, by its very nature, is the most versatile solution and the one that best adapts to different tracks and temperatures, a new SC1 development solution (R831) as an alternative to the standard SC1, capable of ensuring better grip compared to the SC2 and more robustness with respect to the SC1 and, to complete the range of choices available to the riders, the R1300 SC2 medium-hard compound solution, which Pirelli only brought to Phillip Island and which should provide greater resistance to wear than the standard SC1 but at the same time more grip than the standard SC2.

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Series WSBK
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Tags bmw, davies, donington park, melandri, wsbk

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