Laguna WorldSBK: BMW ‘exceeding expectations’ in 2019

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Picture: GeeBee Images

BMW’s bikesport chief Marc Bongers believes the Shaun Muir-run WorldSBK team has exceeded all expectations in their first season as Tom Sykes came away from Laguna with another podium to add to his collection.

After coming into 2019 with comparatively little testing and an almost stock bike at Phillip Island, Sykes is now regularly challenging for the rostrum and is now eighth in the championship chase after a third in yesterday’s Superpole race.

“That was a good day to round off a great weekend – a podium in the Superpole race and then another solid performance and fifth place for Tom in the second race,” said Bongers.

We have some homework to do and we won’t see our competitors again before the tests at Portimão at the end of August. A large part of the team is now heading for some well-deserved vacation time. We can be very pleased with the season so far as we have clearly exceeded our expectations.”

Sykes is more than happy with the progress made so far and can go into the summer break with an eye on his first victory.

“We’ve come away again with a bag full of top-five finishes, including a podium in the sprint race. Overall it was a very productive weekend for the whole team,” said Sykes.

“The bike seems to be not getting the best from the tyres at the moment but we got a lot of information this weekend, having said that it was a complete different story at the end of that race two, we had a lot of pace and I closed the gap to Alex Lowes so that’s certainly positive to take with us.

“There are still areas to work on but overall the whole package is quite promising and having three podiums at the last three rounds is not too bad against these experienced manufacturers.

“I’m enjoying riding, have a great relationship with the team and BMW and it’s needless to say that we are heading in the right direction. I think everybody has seen that the progress we’ve made from the opening round until now has been quite impressive.”