Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport headed home for the tenth round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship at the iconic Nürburgring track in Germany. The team and both works riders used the break between races to prepare for the final phase of the season. The team hoped to improve upon the good form shown at the Silverstone, UK, race weekend where Leon narrowly missed out on a podium finish, crossing the line in fourth place. Technical issues, weather and errors kept the team from improving, however, with a best fifth place finish by Leon Haslam (GBR) and 15th by Troy Corser (AUS) in race one. Heavy rain ended the second race with racers classified ninth and 12th respectively. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) from BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team riders finished both races in the top ten. James Toseland (GBR) was 13th in the first race but skidded out of race two.
The weekend started well with factory rider, Leon Haslam, riding at the front throughout the first Qualifying Practice but finishing the session in tenth position. His teammate, Troy Corser, qualified provisionally 16th after losing track time in both of the sessions due to a gearbox problem in the morning that forced him to ride a spare bike as well as some technical issues. James Toseland and Ayrton Badovini of the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team finished in 15th and 18th respectively.
Leon finished the Superpole qualifying in seventh putting him on the second row. Leon said, “I am happy with the way everything has gone today. I managed to post my fastest lap time on race tires, which is promising for the two races tomorrow. Sadly we don’t seem to be able to extract the full potential from the qualifying tires like the other guys, but we made it through to SP3 which was the main objective. For the races tomorrow I will be hoping for a good start and to push for the podium.”
Unfortunately, Troy couldn’t catch up from the lost practice time and missed out on the Superpole qualifying by just 0.019 seconds and therefore would start 17th. Ayrton took part in Superpole and qualified 15th putting him on the fourth row. James, meanwhile, is still suffering with his injured wrist and qualified 18th.
The race day was not for the faint-hearted with heavy rain during the second race. In race one Leon improved from seventh on the grid to fifth during the early laps, pushing to close the gap to the leading group. But on lap seven he ran off the track, “I tried to bridge the gap to Eugene Laverty. I just pushed a little bit too hard, got a false neutral and ran off the track,” said Leon. He re-joined the race but found himself in 14th. Leon fought his way back setting extremely fast lap times and showing a series of strong maneuvers. On lap 13 he overtook three other riders at once and on the final lap he made it back to finish fifth. Troy improved from 17th on the grid to 11th, but experienced tire issues in the second half of the race and finished 15th.
Only minutes before the start of the second race it began to rain heavily which delayed the start by 15 minutes. Leon again gained two positions in the early stages but unfortunately he was one of many riders who crashed in the worsening conditions. Again, Leon was able to rejoin and he started another fight back from the very end of the field. As the conditions became more and more dangerous and numerous riders fell, the race was red-flagged on lap 14. Leon and Troy were classified ninth and 12th.
Ayrton finished the races ninth and seventh. James was 13th in the first race but crashed out in the second. Fortunately he only suffered bruising.
2011 World Superbike Championship
Nurburgring Race 1 Results:
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 38’59.779
2. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 0’01.855
3. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 0’02.322
4. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 0’07.789
5. Leon Haslam (BMW) 0’09.727
6. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 0’10.113
7. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 0’17.226
8. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 0’17.228
9. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 0’18.166
10 Jonathan Rea (Honda) 0’19.457
11. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 0’22.136
12. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki) 0’25.346
13. James Toseland (BMW) 0’31.617
14. Roberto Rolfo (Kawasaki) 0’31.796
15. Troy Corser (BMW) 0’33.320
Nurburgring Race 2 Results:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 29’49.337
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 0’04.063
3. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 0’22.759
4. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 0’28.497
5. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 0’38.374
6. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 0’45.326
7. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 0’47.030
8. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 0’50.032
9. Leon Haslam (BMW) 0’53.586
10. Maxime Berger (Ducati) 0’55.261
11. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1’12.805
12. Troy Corser (BMW) 1’15.468
13. Roberto Rolfo (Kawasaki) 1’40.323
2011 World Superbike Championship Points:
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 376
2. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 302
3. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 281
4. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 232
5. Leon Haslam (BMW) 176
6. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 154
7. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 141
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 139
9. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 134
10. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 115
11. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 114
12. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 113
13. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 111
14. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 109
15. Troy Corser (BMW) 67
16. Ruben Xaus (Honda) 44
22 James Toseland (BMW) 13
23 L. Lanzi (BMW) 10
27 B. Veneman (BMW) 3
In FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, Sylvain Barrier and Lorenzo Zanetti from the BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock Team started from the front row having set the second and fourth fastest times respectively. They were again successful in the races with Sylvain finishing on the podium in second. His team mate, Lorenzo, crossed the line in fourth, Markus Reiterberger (GER) from the Garnier Alpha Racing Team completed the top six on his S1000RR.
Sylvain wisely deciding to hold second place that not only allowed him to get on the podium but also meant closing in on Petrucci in the Cup standings – just nine points separate Sylvain from the Italian. “In the opening laps I had a good feeling for the bike,” said Sylvain. “Then I heard a change in noise from my bike and it was hard to keep up with Giugliano and Petrucci. Since I had the advantage on track I decided to slow down to gain precious points in the Cup. ”
Lorenzo Zanetti was hindered at the start by a patch of wet asphalt and was forced to start a comeback during which he engaged in a great battle with Niccolò Canepa. The fourth place finish allows him to retain second place in the Cup, 23 points behind leader Giugliano.