BMW SBK Report
With three top-ten finishes out of a possible four, a much more consistent level of performance and no crashes, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport can look back on a very respectable showing at the race weekend in Portimão (POR). Preparations for the next round of the FIM Superbike World Championship in Valencia (ESP) – the third of 13 venues on the calendar – began immediately after the weekend on the Algarve.
The team used a one-day test last Monday to work on the chassis set-up and traction control of the two BMW S 1000 RR machines ridden by Troy Corser (AUS) and Ruben Xaus (ESP). Although rain significantly restricted the team’s track time, overall the test was a success.
The city of Valencia on Spain’s Mediterranean coast is the next port of call for the FIM Superbike World Championship. The "Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo", to give the track its full name, is one of Europe’s most modern racing venues and lies around 20 kilometres outside Valencia.
In addition to the Superbike World Championship, Valencia regularly hosts a number of other race series and – like Portimão – is a popular winter testing destination. The WSBK bikes lap the circuit, which is named after former Spanish motorcycle racer Ricardo Tormo, in an anticlockwise direction.
"The races so far in the Superbike World Championship have been so tight that I have to give 100 per cent if I want to be up there at the business end of the field. And that’s only possible if together we can set the bike up to do what I need it to over a full race distance. That’s what the team is working towards and I’m confident that the bike can deliver."
"In Valencia we need a bike that is extremely easy on the tyres during gear changes under lean angle. In the final sector of the lap, in particular, we have a lot of gear changes on the side of the tyre. Plus, the bike’s traction control has to be working really well over the crest through Turn 13 – especially in the latter stages of the race when tyre grip drops away."
"Valencia is my home track and I’m really looking forward to racing there. We tested at Valencia in January and were able to set some quite good lap times. The bike feels good overall. Now it’s a question of being able to reel off solid lap times over the whole of the race. If we can do that, then anything is possible with this bike."
"Valencia is a real "Mickey Mouse" track, which makes it far from easy to ride. The many tight corners stop you from getting into a good rhythm. The lighter riders have the advantage on stop-start circuits like this, as they can get better acceleration out of the corners. But the track is a bit too tight for my liking."
Berthold Hauser – BMW Superbike Team Director
"The level of competition in the Superbike World Championship is higher than ever this year. In Superpole 1 at Portimão, for example, less than one second covered the 17 fastest riders. Five top-ten placings in the first two race weekends of the season are confirmation that we are heading in the right direction."
"Valencia was not a great weekend for us last year, so we’re working that much harder to ensure we go home with a better result this time around. We completed another test at Portimão after the race weekend and used the time to work on the chassis set-up and traction control. The test went well and I’m feeling confident about the upcoming weekend in Valencia."
Valencia World Superbike Background
With a population of over 800,000 Valencia is Spain’s third-largest city – after Madrid and Barcelona – and capital of the region on the Mediterranean coast that shares its name. The city not only hosts various high-level sporting events, it also offers visitors a selection of architectural highlights.
In addition to the "Llotja de la Seda" (silk exchange) and the Gothic cathedral in the city centre, the "Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias" (City of Arts and Sciences) is particularly worthy of note. Built on what was formerly the bed of the River Turia, it was designed by Valencia-born architect Santiago Calatrava.
Troy Corser has already notched up five WSBK race wins on the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo over the course of his career, while Ruben Xaus celebrated his only victory so far at his home race here in 2007.
The two BMW Motorrad Motorsport riders will be in second and third gear most of the way around the Valencia circuit. Strong acceleration and high levels of torque in these low gears are vital in order to carry as much speed as possible into the short sprint sections. The SBK circuit has a long start-finish straight, which means that any mistakes in the final sector have a particularly negative effect on the lap time.