Barcelona: Best results of the season for Garrett Gerloff and the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team – solid WorldSBK debut from Ivo Lopes.


Barcelona. Garrett Gerloff (USA) and the Bonovo action BMW
Racing Team certainly achieved the goals they had set themselves for
the fourth race weekend of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship
in Barcelona (ESP). The Texan racer reached the top 10 in all three
races to also secure the best race results of the season so far for
himself and his team. In the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, Ivo
Lopes (POR) made a very solid WorldSBK debut as he replaced the
injured Michael van der Mark (NED) in Barcelona. Scott Redding (GBR
/ ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) suffered a difficult weekend, as
bad luck with the Superpole interruption was followed by a crash and
tyre problems in the two main races. Loris Baz (FRA / Bonovo action
BMW Racing Team) was still hampered by the leg injury he suffered in
Indonesia that had also caused him to miss out on testing in
Barcelona at the end of March.

Around two and a half minutes before the end of Superpole qualifying
on Saturday morning, a red flag interrupted proceedings with the
riders chasing fast lap times. The session then restarted a short time
later for the very brief period that still remained. Gerloff secured
ninth place to record his best grid position so far on the BMW M 1000
RR. Redding, who had been on course for the top eight before the red
flag, finished the session in 13th but was later demoted by three
places. Baz was 16th and Lopes completed his first WorldSBK Superpole
in 20th position.

The red flag appeared again on Saturday morning, interrupting the
first race after three laps. Gerloff restarted from 14th and worked
his way gradually up through the field during the remaining 17 laps.
He finished ninth to claim the best race result of the season so far
for himself and the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team. His team-mate Baz
crossed the line in 14th position, with Lopes in 16th. Both then moved
up one place after the subsequent disqualification of a better-placed
rival. This put Baz in 13th and Lopes was classified in 15th, scoring
his maiden world championship point in his first WorldSBK race. After
the restart, Redding initially moved up from 12th but was forced to
retire after a collision in the turmoil on the first lap.

Gerloff improved again in the Superpole Race on Sunday morning. The
Texan racer secured seventh in the 10-lap sprint to chalk up another
season-best result. Redding overcame wrist pain after his fall on
Saturday to finish 12th. Rookie Lopes improved by five places to cross
the line in 15th. Baz ended up in the gravel at the start of the race
but was able to continue, chasing his way from the back of the field
to take the chequered flag in 18th. Gerloff finished tenth in the
second main race on Sunday afternoon to finish in the top 10 again.
Baz finished in 16th, right ahead of Lopes in 17th. Redding had to
head for the pits a few laps before the end as his tyres had
deteriorated too severely.

Next Thursday and Friday, the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and
the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team will be taking part in WorldSBK
testing in Misano (ITA). The fifth round of the 2023 WorldSBK will
take place at the same location from 2nd to 4th June.


Quotes after the Barcelona races.

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport
“Garrett delivered a great performance from Friday
onwards, especially with P4 in FP2. Scott was also able to keep up the
pace, just not over the same distance. On Friday, Ivo was
concentrating on getting used to a new motorbike and new tyres in a
new championship. However, he did really well over the whole weekend.
He improved constantly, provided some good input, and certainly
learned a lot for himself, too. I would like to take this opportunity
to thank Ivo for his efforts, while also wishing Michael van der Mark
a speedy recovery. We have now found out that a set-up issue was the
cause of his crash at Assen. Back to this weekend: Friday’s lap times
gave us a decent level of expectation for Saturday. But that red flag
meant that qualifying was pretty chaotic, and, unfortunately, we were
unable to make the best of it. Garrett finished ninth to secure the
best grid position for the BMWs. In the first race, he was able to
convert this into the, at that time, best race result of the season,
for himself and for the team. Ivo also produced a solid performance
and was rewarded with his first world championship point. A strong
performance from Garrett in the Superpole Race saw him fight his way
up to seventh place, but the other three unfortunately did not make it
into the top nine. Garrett also made another good start in the second
main race and he was able to keep pace until the halfway point of the
race. But his tyres deteriorated after that, which cost him a few
positions. Scott was on the pace briefly, before increased slip led to
severe tyre degradation and forced him to head for the pits. Ivo and
Loris were battling for the final point. Barcelona remains a tricky
circuit for us. Now we are heading to Misano for testing, and to
prepare for the race there.”

Garrett Gerloff, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team (SP: 9 / R01: 9
/ SP Race: 7 / R02: 10
): “I’m so happy with the Superpole
race. The bike felt awesome. I was there with the group and was super
happy about my best finish so far this year. Seventh place isn’t where
I want to be, I want to be higher up, but we have to take the
positives and we are going in a good direction. That was super good.
In the main race, I had an epic start. I was in sixth place in the
beginning, I was super happy. But we went with the harder compound
rear tyre and I had a big moment because I had no edge grip. On the
last corner of the first lap, I almost had a huge highsider. Then two
guys passed me and I was just struggling with the tyre. It was
difficult to go forward. I was able to stay with the Hondas in front
of me, but in the end, I’m a little disappointed. I feel we had the
pace to be closer, but I made that big mistake on the first lap and
it’s just a bit of a shame. Anyway, it’s still a top ten and I know
that Jürgen Röder and the team want a top ten, so I’m happy to give
them that. But we all want more and I know we can do more. Overall, I
think it was a positive weekend and I’m ready for Misano now.”

Loris Baz, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team (SP: 16 / R01: 13 /
SP Race: 18 / R02: 16
): “I made a mistake going into turn
five on the first lap of the Superpole race, lost the rear and
released the brake to then lose the front in the gravel. It was not a
crash, I just went straight. Then I picked up the bike and I had a
good pace until lap seven, when it started to rain. Then I had a much
better pace than everyone in these conditions. So, I was confident for
the long race. I had a massive drop on the rear tyre yesterday, so I
changed. But in the end, it was the same like the other one. In the
beginning, I had a pace where I could at least follow, but later I
just killed my rear tyre and the grip. We’ve been running behind that
all weekend. It was tough to miss the test here and big parts of FP2,
plus I’m not at 100 %. This is not an excuse though, because we are
here to do our best. But it wasn’t good enough. My leg is not ideal, I
can’t move on the bike, and it’s tough to change directions. But it’s
not the leg that made me slow today. Now we have to find a solution,
as I definitely need to improve my feeling on the bike.”

Ivo Lopes, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team (SP: 20 / R01: 15
/ SP Race: 15 / R02: 17):
“My day was perfect. In the
Superpole race, I pushed a lot and I had a great feeling because now
it was my bike. I just had an issue in the traffic at the start but
the pace was good, the bike was great. I understood the bike better
and was so happy. Just the final laps have been difficult because it
started to rain a bit and I tried not to risk anything as race two was
more important. I was also very happy with race two. My start was not
so good and I lost two or three positions, but then I was able to make
use of my good feeling for the bike and was able to really push. In
the final part of the race the tyre dropped, but I understand now that
this is normal in this championship. Overall, I am really happy.
Thanks to BMW Motorrad Motorsport, thanks to the ROKiT BMW Motorrad
WorldSBK Team, thanks to BMW Motorrad Portugal and everyone who made
this possible because I am so happy that I got this chance.”

Scott Redding, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team (SP: 13 / R01:
DNF / SP Race: 12 / R02: DNF):
“The Superpole race was not
really good, to be honest. I just can’t find the speed with the bike
here. I am struggling quite a lot. I thought the Superpole race would
be better, but with the better pace from the other guys it was more
difficult for me. Then in race two today I felt that I could maybe
stay there a bit more and I stayed in the group longer, but I was
pushing so hard to be there that in the end I destroyed the rear tyre
completely so that it was unrideable, and I also destroyed the front
tyre. But this is because I needed to work so hard to just stay with
the group and here I’m overriding the bike. So I am a little bit upset
with the results this weekend. We knew that it would be hard here but
we tried anyway. Now we get back to the drawing board and work for the
next race.”


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