Disappointing results for BMW at Assen WSBK

Disappointing results for BMW at Assen WSBK

There were high hopes for BMW at the third round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship s held at the iconic “TT Circuit” in Assen, Netherlands April 15-17. Last year, Troy Corser had his second best Superpole result of the season at Assen, qualifying third for BMW. He finished both races in fifth place making it Troy’s most successful race weekend in 2010. Leon Haslam qualified fourth and went on to claim a podium finish at Assen last year while riding for Suzuki.

Leon Haslam

For Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport this year, Leon finished 12th then 5th while Troy managed a 6th place finish but his second race ended with a crash on lap eight. The BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team saw Ayrton Badovini finish 9th and 15th while replacement rider, Barry Veneman, came in 13th and 17th. In Championship points, Leon falls from 3rd to 5th with 68 points, Troy moves up to 12th with 26 points and Ayrton is in 15th with 20 points. In the manufacturers’ standings BMW is fifth with 74 points.

Ayrton Badovini

The weekend started well for BMW. Troy and Leon finished the first qualifying session in sixth and seventh, respectively. To save their soft tires for Superpole, both riders only went out on harder tires. For a long time Troy and Leon lay first and second but slipped back in the standings in the last part of the session when other riders switched to soft tires to improve their lap times. Ayrton Badovini had an earlier  fall which affected his first qualifying session but managed 15th. Barry Veneman, substituting for James Toseland at this event, has begun to get to grips with the S1000RR which he had ridden in the German championship (but with different regulations) and finished qualifying in 16th place.

Troy Corser

The BMW Motorrad Motorsport Team experienced tire issues during Superpole and found themselves on the third row for the race. Troy finished the Superpole Qualifying tenth, and Leon 12th. Troy said: “On race tires the bike feels good. We are able to run consistently good lap times and our race pace looks good for tomorrow. Superpole today was certainly disappointing, as we struggled to get the optimum performance from the qualifying tires.”

The BMW Motorrad Superbike Italia Team managed to enter Superpole for the first time with Ayrton but wasn’t able to make better use of his qualifying tires with the bike set-up and found himself on the fourth row. In the second qualifying session, a spectacular crash involved Barry Veneman and meant he wasn’t able to do better than 19th; he started from the fifth row.

Troy had a very good start in race 1 and was lying third on the first lap. For most of the race he was pushing hard in a close fight with the lead group and finished sixth. Leon also made up positions at the start but crashed on the third lap. He was able to continue and crossed the finish line in 12th. At the start of race 2 Leon made up a lot of places. He rode a consistent race finishing fifth. Troy’s second race was ended by a crash on lap eight. The races were won by Jonathan Rea and Carlos Checa respectively.

BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Bernhard Gobmeier and BMW Motorrad Motorsport Rider Leon Haslam.

“It’s been a tough weekend,” said Leon. “We have been encountering a few minor issues this weekend which have made lap by lap consistency difficult. The situation obviously wasn’t helped by my crash in race 1. The back of the bike came round on me unexpectedly and I was unable to stop myself from crashing. I also got clipped by one of the other riders when I was on the floor, which meant I was a little sore for race 2. Still I got a good start in the second race and managed to get up with the leaders, but sadly I was unable progress through the pack. But we still managed to secure another top five finish, and I know we will go away from here, work hard back at the workshop and prepare well for Monza.”

Troy added, “The first race was not so bad, and I was pretty happy with that. For the second race we just made a few adjustments to the rear shock and I think we improved the bike. Then I unfortunately lost the front tire going into a corner. I am okay with no injuries, but it is a bit disappointing. In the free practice all went okay, but in the race we had some issues with the tire. But we are now going to analyze that and to improve it for the next race.”

For the BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team, Ayrton finished race 1 in 9th place and race 2 in 15th. As a replacement, Barry did his job and finished 13th and 17th in the two races and scoring two championship points. Ayrton said, “I’m partly satisfied with the weekend. The bike started to work for me but there were some problems we couldn’t solve. We lack grip at full tilt and that costs us a lot. I still have to work so hard physically in order to get the best times. I have to hold on very tight for the racing line through corners, and for the race distance this is a challenge. I hope that for Monza we will have found a solution.”

James Toseland is recovering and will most likely be back on track for the races at Monza.

In Superstock, Sylvain Barrier set a lap record and started the race from third position. The Frenchman rode nearly the whole race on his own and finished third collecting 16 points. Further back, Lorenzo Zanetti in his second race with the S1000RR, was in fifth place but in the final stages fell to ninth.

2011 World Superbike

Assen Race 1 Results:

1. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
3. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
4. Marco Melandri (Yamaha)
5. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki)
6. Troy Corser (BMW)
7. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha)
8. Ruben Xaus (Honda)
9. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)
10. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki)
11. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki)
12. Leon Haslam (BMW)
13. Barry Veneman (BMW)
14. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)

Assen Race 2 Results:

1. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
3. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
4. Leon Camier (Aprilia)
5. Leon Haslam (BMW)
6. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha)
7. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki)
8. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia)
9. Jakub Smrz (Ducati)
10. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati)
11. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
12. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki)
13. Max Berger (Ducati)
14. Ruben Xaus (Honda)
15. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)
17. Barry Veneman (BMW)
DNF Troy Corser (BMW)

2011 World Superbike Championship Points:

1. Carlos Checa, 132
2. Max Biaggi, 89
3. Marco Melandri, 85
4. Jonathan Rea, 79
5. Leon Haslam, 68
6. Leon Camier, 50
7. Jakub Smrz, 49
8. Michel Fabrizio, 47
9. Eugene Laverty, 35
10. Noriyuki Haga, 34

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