The fourth round of this year’s Superbike World Championship takes place at Assen circuit in the Netherlands, and will be a new racetrack for the BMW Motorrad Motorsport team. Although Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus are very familiar with the 4.555 kilometre circuit, it will be their first time there with the new BMW S 1000 RR.
So, not only do they have to try and find a good set-up for the races, but they also have to try and qualify well. In the three races so far, both Troy and Ruben have suffered in the new Superpole qualifying system and have had to start the races from way down the grid. It would be interesting to see what would happen if either or both could qualify on the first two rows of the grid for Sunday´s races.
"Assen used to be a real ‘riders’ track, but it is not the same anymore. It´s not bad track, but it just doesn´t flow like it used to and that could be a bit of a problem for us. At the present stage of the bike´s development, it seems that the bike is working better at tracks that flow, instead of stop/start circuits. Obviously, we are working very hard on getting the bike good at all types of tracks, but it just takes time and laps. We´re getting there for sure and, if we can get a good Superpole and start from near the front end of the grid, I´m sure we can improve our results."
"The old Assen was good and I don´t think there was a single rider who did not like it. The new Assen is not so bad, but it has lost some of its character. Of course, it is the same for all of us, but our job is going to be that much harder because we are arriving at Assen with no data or telemetry to work with on this bike at this track. My plan is to get down to it as soon as I can and try and avoid my ‘black Fridays’. I need to be further up the grid and not have so much work to do during the races just trying to catch the leaders. The S 1000 RR is fantastic, but I don´t think we have seen its potential yet. That day is going to come and I don´t think it is so far away."
Berti Hauser (Director BMW Motorrad Motorsport):
"Well, yes of course, this upcoming SBK weekend in Assen is another new one and unknown territory for us, but each step we`re taking since the beginning of the 2009 season is unknown territory. Especially all the basics we learned throughout the first three rounds brought a lot of new knowledge and information as well as some surprises – such is the reality of competing in a hard-fought championship. The pure ranking itself does not show the real potential of our bike.
Looking atthe second qualifying in Valencia, where the first 20 positions were within one second, it shows what is really going on there. Troy`s was just 0.14 sec and Ruben 0.7 sec behind the fastest lap time of this particular session. Actually, that`s where we are standing. No doubt, we have to keep pushing hard to improve the whole system in order to achieve better positions. This includes getting more familar with the new superpole system, to get more used to the specific characters of the Pirelli tires and to improve also the whole system of the bike step by step. For sure, based on the results we’ve achieved already, the motivation is huge and I’m more than happy and proud to have these riders in our team. The team spirit together with these guys provides a major boost to get better and better throughout the remainder of the season. We`ll be going the extra mile at the track and our work shop to make BMW`s WSBK participation a success story."
2008 Assen Results:
Race 1: Bayliss (AUS-Ducati), 2 Checa (E-Honda), 3 Neukirchner (D-Suzuki), 4 Kagayama (J-Suzuki), 5 Troy Corser (AUS-Yamaha), 6 Smrz (CZ-Ducati), 16 Ruben Xaus (E-Ducati)
Race 2: 1 Bayliss, 2 Haga (J-Yamaha), 3 Checa, 4 Ruben Xaus, 5 Neukirchner, 6 Kagayama, 10 Troy Corser