After a seemingly endless winter break, the first race of the 2011 World Superbike Championship has concluded at Phillip Island Racetrack Australia. Weather played a role with on and off rain through the event, but the final order was decided in the dry.
Qualifying went well for team BMW Motorrad Motorsport with surprise pace from BMW’s newcomer: Leon Haslam. We knew he would be fast, but to beat Troy Corser out of the box is impressive indeed. Both Motorrad riders have had notable success at the Phillip Island circuit with Troy Corser having won there 7 times, and Leon Haslam owning the lap record, among other wins including last years WSBK win at his home circuit. When the checkered flag fell on the third and final Superpole qualifying session, Haslam had managed a front row start and Corser a 7th place start on the grid.
On to the races, where in Race 1 Leon Haslam managed a 3rd place podium finish in his first ever race for BMW Motorrad! This equals the best result to date for team BMW Motorrad Motorsport and spells out a good omen for the rest of the season – in BMWBLOG’s opinion – a race win is coming, and soon. Troy corser managed a top 10 finish in race one.
Race two was exiting though it did not yield any more podium trophies. Both Troy and Leon spent most of the race battling among others for a podium spot for second place after an incredible race start that saw Leon lead the race! Troy also managed impressive passes on lap two to follow Leon but Troy unfortunately suffered an off track excursion after finding a false neutral while pushing hard. When the dust settled, Leon Haslam finished in 5th place while Troy Corser fell to 19th place after struggling for grip.
All-in-all, this was a brilliant race weekend that showed BMW’s prowess on the grid. We look forward to the next race at Donington in 4 weeks!
Leon Haslam: “As a team we have made huge steps forward from two weeks ago. We still have some issues that need looking at in more detail to ensure we can become regular podium finishers, but on the whole we can be happy with the two races. The first race was great; we encountered some issues in race two but still managed to finish in the top five so we are definitely happy. A huge credit to the team for their efforts this weekend but we now have to sit down and detail how we plan to make that next step forward.”
Troy Corser: “We started the race well, I felt good on the bike but sadly I found a false neutral going into Honda corner and I left the track. I rejoined down the field and then really struggled for grip. As the race progressed the tyre became really worn and I was losing traction everywhere, I simply couldn’t do the times I wanted. We have identified some points that need addressing before Donington Park, but for sure I am looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Berhard Gobmeier – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “Today has been a very rewarding end of what was a tough weekend. Leon did incredibly well and took a well-deserved podium finish for our team. Troy really had to fight with the bike today. We now have to analyze the data on his side. I am proud of the entire team – both the guys here at the track, but also the people in Stephanskirchen and Munich. We all fly back home happily and satisfied tonight. But we are hungry for more, these results shall not be a one-off. We will not have a rest. In four weeks we will race in Donington, and preparations for the first European races already have begun.”