If BMW Motorrad has anything to say about it, the answer to the above question is a resounding, “Yes!” We knew that the S1000RR would perform well at Monza; in fact of any race on the calender this year, we would tip the team’s first win to most likely happen at Monza. Why? Because the long straights and high speed nature of the Italian track renders it an ‘engine circuit’ – one that requires maximum engine performance along with a strong aero package, above all else.
BMW’s S1000RR has both of those strengths, easily being the most powerful bike on the grid, and one of the slipperiest, but still missing a bit on the chassis and suspension side of things. The mechanical set up has come a long way, and is improving with literally every race, but it’s clear that the leading teams still have at least a small edge over the BMW’s. Electronics are one of the focal points in further development, and the team has been hard at work on this front as well. The modern WSBK race bike is managed largely by electronics, what with electronic throttle actuation and traction control spinning up the rear wheel. Tire degradation has been plaguing the team for some time, and on occasion, for apparently no reason, the team suffers from a lack grip. Troy Corser famously struggled to this end last year, and so far this year we’ve seen improvements, but still no race wins.
So when will we see their first victory? If we knew, we’d have already bought tickets. But two indicators of the teams progress and performance: During the first Qualifying session at Monza this weekend, Leon Haslam came within one thousandth of a second of breaking last year’s track record on qualy tires, a stellar lap of 1:42.182. He went on to streak down the Monza back straight at 322 km/h. That’s bang on 200 mph, for those drinking Whiskey.
It’s fascinating to watch BMW’s effort in the pinnacle of production based motorcycle racing, and we look forward to watching the roundel lead the pack. For what it’s worth, our bet is on Leon Haslam taking the team’s first win. Silverstone is looking good!
Stay with BMWBLOG for up-to-date race reviews and WSBK news involving Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport. The spectacle is second to none, and it is thrilling to see these riders hit such insane lean angles – it never gets old.