Nurburgring Superbike: BMW at Home
With the summer break now over, the race weekend at the Nürburgring in Germany sees the teams in the FIM Superbike World Championship entering the finishing straight of the 2010 season.
For Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport the 11th race weekend of the season at the historic circuit in the Eifel mountains will be special for two reasons. It is the home event for the German team in this year’s championship, and on Sunday all involved will celebrate a new milestone: Race 2 at the Nürburgring will be the team’s 50th since its arrival on the World Championship scene in 2009.
BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Berthold Hauser and his team will be looking to build on their latest success on home soil.
The Nurburgring has been a fine hunting ground over the years for Troy Corser (AUS), who already has his name inscribed on the winners’ list here. Ruben Xaus (ESP), meanwhile, will be aiming to put the knowledge gained over the past few races into practice and has his sights set on his first podium finish with the BMW S 1000 RR.
Troy is lying in 10th place in the riders’ standings with 155 points, while Ruben’s 69 points put him in 14th. In the manufacturers’ table BMW has collected 174 points, good enough for sixth place.
The break between races saw Ruben give the BMW S 1000 RR a run-out with a difference as part of the City Racing Day in Rotterdam, Holland on Aug. 22. The Catalan rider treated the large crowds attending the headline day of the weekend event to a captivating display of burn-outs and demo starts.
Troy Corser says: “I really like the Nürburgring. In the past I’ve regularly had good results here, including several podium finishes and a race win. I think the circuit will suit the engine and chassis of our bike. Our aim for Friday practice is to settle on a good set-up. If we can do that, then anything is possible this weekend.”
“The Nürburgring is a great race track and the perfect venue for motorcycle racing. There are plenty of overtaking opportunities and lots of rises and falls. This generally produces really exciting and spectacular racing – both for us as riders and for the spectators. The Nordschleife is steeped in motor sport history, but with our bikes it would be far too dangerous to compete on the old circuit at race speed. In summer 2009 I had the chance to drive a BMW Formula One car at the Nürburgring, which was a lot of fun. I was surprised by how quickly you can feel comfortable driving that kind of car. But I think I prefer being at the limit on my bike.”
Ruben Xaus says: “At the Nürburgring I’ll be aiming to build on my good performance at Brno. It would be nice if I could get the podium finish which I missed out on so narrowly in the Czech Republic as a result of my crash. A podium would certainly have been a possibility at Silverstone if we’d been able to work out our grip problems earlier on. However, we learned a lot of things there for the future.”
“We found a set-up for the bike which allows me to record good lap times even when there isn’t much grip. Up to now, I’d only really been able to do that when the track offered the tyres good grip. That will help me to keep progressing and to be quick in all types of conditions. We’ve already shown that we can compete at the front of the field. And now I want to be doing that at all the circuits.”
Berthold Hauser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director) says: “The Nürburgring represents both our home race and a small milestone in our history. There’s no doubt that our whole team is looking forward to the race weekend in the Eifel mountains. Things didn’t go quite how we were hoping at Silverstone, as we struggled with grip problems pretty much on all three days. However, we were able to find good solutions for these problems in time for the second race.”
“Without his crash, Troy would have been in good shape for a podium in Race 2, and Ruben fought his way impressively up the field with some consistently strong lap times. This puts us in confident mood for the Nürburgring, as we can use the lessons learned at Silverstone into practice here. We know what we’re capable of achieving this season and are determined to get the results to match. It would be wonderful if we could finish on the podium once again here on home ground.”
The Nürburgring lies in the municipality of Adenau in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The circuit in the Eifel mountains opened for racing in 1927, making it one of Europe’s most historic racing venues.
The Nürburgring was given a major overhaul in the 1980s, and this was followed by further modernisation work in 1999 and 2002. The 20-kilometre-plus Nordschleife circuit is a popular venue for car endurance racing, but the Superbike World Championship races are contested over the Grand Prix course.
The track measured 4.556 km when the World Superbikes made their debut here in 1998 and was extended to 5.137 km in time for the 2008 race weekend.
The Nürburgring wastes no time in reminding the riders of the exacting test ahead of them, its first corner – the “Yokohama-S” – already providing a serious challenge. The riders brake extremely late and try to put themselves in a good position going into the “Mercedes Arena”, where some of the corners tighten steadily as they unwind.
The bikes need to display good steering responses in this part of the track to enable the riders to get on the power early out of the corners. The “Bit-Kurve” is the most important corner on the circuit and has to be negotiated well in order to carry sufficient speed into the high-speed section afterwards.
The “NGK” chicane provides another hard braking zone, before the track climbs up towards the start/finish straight. The Nürburgring is famous for its unpredictable weather, which can change from one moment to the next. Its setting in the Eifel mountains means dry, sunny conditions can give way to heavy downpours and hail in a short space of time.
Troy Corser won a World Superbike race here in 1999, and this season sees the championship stop off at the “Green Hell” for the fifth time.