Italian GP: BMW Motorrad BoxerCup preview

All set for round 2. Just one month after the opening round in Donington Park, the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002 is back on the racetracks on the occasion of the Italian Grand Prix. From the British Midlands to the Tuscan hills of Mugello, the ...

All set for round 2.

Just one month after the opening round in Donington Park, the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002 is back on the racetracks on the occasion of the Italian Grand Prix. From the British Midlands to the Tuscan hills of Mugello, the throaty sound of the BMW R 1100 S will echo the new sonority of the MotoGP four-stroke machines. Series newcomers Markus Barth and Sébastien Legrelle will be looking to repeat their superb British performance, while defending champion Stéphane Mertens is already very much in the hunt.

Winners in Donington: S. Legrelle (3rd), S. Mertens (2nd), M. Barth (1st) Inaugurated in 1999 by the French and Belgian BMW importers, the BMW BoxerCup moved to international status last season, attending three motorcycle Grand Prix events. For 2002, the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002 inherits the official status as UEM Cup. The series extends from seven to eight races, among which four MotoGP venues : Mugello, Barcelona, Sachsenring and - new for 2002 ­ Assen. A further three rounds will be held in the Endurance championship (Spa-Francorchamps, 06/07; Oschersleben, 10/08; Bol d'Or, Magny-Cours, 14/09).

The opening round in Donington Park, on the occasion of the British Superbike championship, was held on the short racetrack, and saw Markus Barth defeat Sébastien Legrelle and Stéphane Mertens for victory after an incredibly thrilling race. Last year's main contenders Andy Hofmann and Fernando Cristobal were not so fortunate, both of them retiring early in the race.

The inaugural race gave the opportunity for BMW to unveil a "BoxerCup Replica" version of the BMW R 1100 S, complete with a new colour scheme and carbon cylinder covers. Commercialised at fall, this new model undermines the German brand's commitment to racing in general and to the BoxerCup in particular.

BMW also enjoys an exclusive partnership with Dorna ­ MotoGP's governing body ­ and provides the leading motorcycle racing series with safety cars and shuttles around the racetrack. Operational only at the European rounds of the MotoGP championship last season, this partnership has for 2002 been extended to the entire championship.

As last year, four times 500cc vice-world champion Randy Mamola will act as the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup ambassador. As always, the Californian will help the series' regular riders with his riding experience, and look into his personal address book to invite some of the world's fastest VIP riders. In Mugello, German ace Jürgen Fuchs will be participating in the race alongside Spain's multiple 125cc Grand Prix winner, Jorge "Aspar" Martinez. Austria's Superbike ace Andy Meklau will also be attending the Mugello race.

-bmw-

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About this article
Series Other bike
Drivers Randy Mamola , Stéphane Mertens