With several podiums already in 2012 and having both led World Superbike races at the last round in Assen, Netherlands, that elusive first victory for either Marco Melandri or Leon Haslam is getting ever closer in this highly-competitive WSBK series. However, in other championships around the world, S1000RR riders are already reaping the rewards with victories and podiums:
At the same Assen circuit, BMW Motorrad Italia Goldbet rider Sylvain Barrier scored his second consecutive victory of 2012 on the RR in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race. The French rider was leading at the finish line of the eighth and last lap completed, before the race was stopped due to oil on the Dutch circuit. This gave the Race Director no option other than to red-flag the race. Thanks to this victory, Barrier has maximum points in the championship standings, with 50 points out of 50.
Over the same weekend in Germany, the RR enjoyed a perfect start to the season in the IDM (International German Motorcycle Championship) at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, where in both Superbike races, five of the top six riders were on the RR.
Race one saw Jörg Teuchert (GER) from Team Wilbers–BMW racing and Michael Ranseder (AUT) from Team Technogym Racing Austria–Fritze Tuning secure their places on the podium with second and third place respectively. Teuchert’s teammate Gareth Jones (AUS), Troy Herfoss (AUS) from Team RAC Racing BMW and Erwan Nigon (FRA) of Team Van Zon–alpha Technik-BMW completed the top six. Victory went to Yamaha rider Matej Smrz.
BMW had the podium to itself on race two. Teuchert won ahead of Ranseder and Jones, with Nigon and Herfoss finishing fifth and sixth. BMW riders now occupy the top three positions in the Riders’ Championship: Teuchert leads with 45 points, ahead of Ranseder (36 points) and Jones (29 points). In the Manufacturers’ Championship, BMW is currently sitting pretty at the top of the table with 81 points, 49 points ahead of its closest rival.
The RR has also been successful in Mexico, where BMW Motorrad-supported rider Nahun Alvarez Gonzalez has been tasting victory in the Moto Pro Pirelli National championship. The 36-year-old has been the champion for the last six years in the Experts free superbike cup and his winning ways have already continued into 2012 since he switched to BMW power for the first time. At the beginning of April, Gonzalez won the championship race in Morelia Michoacan but with 12 rounds in total, the Mexican realizes he has a long way to go to repeat his former Superbike successes of recent years.
In the UK April 15, Buildbase BMW Motorrad rider Howie Mainwaring took his first podium of the season with a stunning battle to second place in the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 race at Thruxton. From a second-row start at the Hampshire circuit, the thrilling race saw Mainwaring cut through the field on his RR and work his way up to the front of the pack, along with fellow Buildbase BMW Motorrad rider Steve Brogan. In a nail-biting finale, Brogan battled with the eventual race winner but lost the front on the final corner on the last lap, leaving Howie in second place and third in the Superstock 1000 points standings.
In sunny Spain, the debut CEV Buckler Spanish Superbike Championship race at Navarra circuit was packed with exciting racing. In front of thousands of spectators, with many more following on live TV and the Internet, the Stock Extreme class continued its reputation of being one of the most exciting 1000cc motorcycle categories out there.
Four riders fought for victory, including Team Motorrad’s Xavi Forés, who lost out on a win on the very last corner of the race to Carmelo Morales. 2010 champion Forés was in good shape on the RR, qualifying on pole position with a time that was seven-tenths of a second faster than his nearest rival. After firmly controlling most of the race, the Motorrad Competition rider became tangled with a large group of backmarkers, losing all the advantage he had gained up to that point. Then, on the last lap Xavi was pushed to second position by Morales, who beat him to the line by 0.143 seconds after 18 laps of racing. This leaves Valencian Forés second in the points, but still one of the favorites to lift the Stock Extreme CEV title later this year.
‘Down Under’ in Australia, the QBE Superbike Championship that supported the opening round of the 2012 WSBK series at Phillip Island continued over the weekend of April 20-22 with the second round taking place at the Hidden Valley circuit. While defending ASBK champion Glenn Allerton wasn’t able to post a victory in the premier class, the RR rider managed to hold down second place in the points, following fourth and second place finishes at the Darwin circuit.