BMW’s efforts in the 2010 World Superbike Championship have concluded with a 6th place finish in the constructor’s championship and an 11th place finish for their top rider; it’s on to development work and preparations for 2011.
Since the BMW Motorrad Motorsport Team’s inception in 2009, we have seen staggering development pace in the S1000RR’s race prowess. To date, BMW have achieved significant mile-markers in their WSBK campaign. This year in Monza, Italy Troy Coser secured a Third place podium finish. More impressively, at the Misano track also in Italy, Troy managed to claim the team’s first Pole position – qualifying over half a second faster than the nearest rival! These successes bear testimony to BMW’s aggressive development program, and they are only a taste of things to come from the determined Stephanskirchen based team. Having met all team objectives set since entering the sport, the team is faced with only one goal for 2011: their first race win.
In the team’s two year infancy, development work is critical to match, and eventually exceed the pace of well established competition. BMW Motorrad Motorsport factory rider Troy Corser is easily the most influential man behind the machine; his many years of competitive racing help him to shape the S1000RR as an ideal race bike.
BMW media staff recently caught up to Troy Corser – apparently no easy task. Below is a transcript from their interview; enjoy the many insights Troy offers up on his opinion of the S1000RR and his expectations for 2011.
Not many riders could have taken on a project like the RR development. How sure were you that you had the required skills and experience?
I think my experience has been the biggest contributing factor. You can see from projects both past and present that it is not easy to develop a new machine with a new manufacturer and be competitive – especially in this championship. I have gained a mass of experience from working with a whole range of other manufacturers and teams, and it teaches you how to work effectively and efficiently to make things go in the right direction. Working with such a variety of nationalities and personalities has taught me to be very precise with my feedback and to explain everything simply. Mixed messages and contradicting feedback wastes time and wastes money. My experience has definitely helped speed up the development process.
Developing a bike takes time. How do you keep focused and motivated when it’s such a long process?
I’ve remained quite happy throughout this project with the results we have achieved and are now achieving. I have always been very focused on the team’s goals and what we as a team expect is possible. I feel like we have kept on track in terms of results and development. Obviously some of the positions are not ultimately what we want but we understand that results do not simply appear overnight. I have always known that the form we are showing now was the true potential of this machine. You just need to focus on development and not results in the early stages. We are always learning and collating data, so I know that whenever we return to that track or the next track we are going to be stronger. We are finding new things all the time and the more time I spend on the bike the faster it gets!
How do you keep confidence levels high – not only in yourself but also in your whole team?
The team and I are so motivated to win, and I just want to show the true potential of what I think is a really special machine. When I first came to the team it was a huge risk because they were a new manufacturer to bike racing with a new bike. However I knew it was a great opportunity, although we had no idea how it was going to go. I knew that with the support of a brand like BMW that they were going to create something really special – not because they were going to throw millions of dollars at the project but because I knew they would appoint the best personnel and have the right approach, especially with the F1 background. I feel that BMW has the right ideas and the right approach to racing. Technologically we are extremely advanced and that is the way racing is going.
Is the will to win as strong as it has ever been?
My desire and approach to racing has never changed. We go out and try to be the best in every session. Everyone in the team wants success and this then spurs me on to go out there and reward the team for their efforts. I have always raced to win.
You’ve had a couple of decades racing all kinds of motorcycles. Just how good is the RR?
Right now I think the Aprilia has the strongest all-round package and we are definitely a close second, but I know that we can catch and overtake the Aprilia with the rate of our development. We are here to make logical steps and not to rush development, so I know that we have everything to be the best, we just need to continue working and progressing to unlock that potential and then I am sure that our bike will be the one that everyone is chasing. I am extremely happy with the way we are doing things at BMW and I know what is to come from us. We have huge potential and the next steps are very small, but will be the most important in terms of results.
You cannot win the WSBK championship alone. Just how important are the people around you in terms of helping you to achieve your maximum?
We have appointed some great personnel and they are all doing a great job. I have 100% faith in the team, and I know they are the same towards me. We understand that having intelligent, talented people is the key to success.
Others may doubt you, but does this make you more determined to prove them wrong? How vital is self-belief?
I know what we have here. We have brought personnel into the team like who are proven race winners. This gives me the belief that BMW and I want the same thing. They are doing everything within their means to push this project forward and that is a great feeling for me to have. They want me to succeed. I don’t care what other people say because ultimately it’s my team’s opinion that matters and they believe in me and this project. I know what I can realistically achieve on this bike and I am aiming for the championship next year for sure. Self-belief has never been an issue because I know what I am capable of.
Have you always been assured of the backing of BMW management for this project?
The main thing which I have noticed with this project which never happened with previous manufacturers, is that they trust me and take on board what I say. They listen to what I have to say and they incorporate that into developing this bike. They fully believe and support me, and ultimately we have developed to a point now where we are extremely competitive and I am comfortable with the package. I think we have a great working relationship that will ultimately bring rewards.
How much difference do the fans make to your motivation and performance?
It’s an amazing feeling to have such great support from my fans. I have been in this paddock for a very long time and ridden for many manufacturers, so I have picked up a lot of fans through riding for various teams. However sometimes the fan situation can be quite difficult I must say. At race meetings I am always really busy and it’s hard to stop and talk to every fan and sign autographs. I try my best but you can never satisfy everyone. I do value all my fans and really appreciate the time and money they spend supporting me and coming to see me race.