Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport is preparing for its second Italian outing in the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship. The fourth race weekend of the season is scheduled for this weekend (4th to 6th May) at the “Autodromo Nazionale di Monza” (ITA). After three strong opening rounds, the team is looking to challenge at the very front of the field again with its two factory riders, the Italian local hero Marco Melandri and Britain’s Leon Haslam.
Marco finished runner-up on his BMW S 1000 RR at the season-opener in Australia. At the first Italian job, in Imola at the beginning of April, Leon finished third in both races to claim two podium finishes. When the series arrived in Assen (NED), both Marco and Leon came within touching distance of the first victory for BMW Motorrad in the Superbike World Championship. However, they just lacked that vital little bit of good fortune in perilous conditions. The team and both factory riders have good memories of the Royal Park in Monza: in 2010 the circuit was the scene of the team’s first podium in the World Championship. Last year, Marco finished runner-up in Monza, while Leon finished third on his RR to claim his place on the podium.
Three race weekends into the 2012 season, Marco currently lies fifth in the Riders’ Championship with 66 points, level on points with fourth-placed Sylvain Guintoli (FRA). Leon is not far behind in seventh place with 58 points. Together, the pair has already scored 124 points for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport this year. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, BMW is third with 86 points. Only the best result from each race counts towards this championship.
Monza from the riders’ point of view:
“I think that Monza can be a good track for us. It is a very nice circuit and has a completely different characteristic to normal motorcycle tracks. It is very, very fast, very high-speed and requires very hard braking. I like all the corners, but the ‘Ascari’ corner is something special. It is the only combination of three corners in a row, so it is good fun. And the last corner is very important to get a good result. I hope that the weather will better than at Assen.
We just have to keep working hard and try to be consistent during the race. The championship is very open and it is easy to make mistakes, especially under tricky conditions. So we need to be very focused and try to give our best in every race.”
“We are making big, big steps. In Imola we had a double podium and, had things gone a little bit differently, we could have challenged Carlos Checa for the win. In Assen we definitely had the chance to win in both races – if we had chosen the right tyre and I had not crashed. These are a lot of ‘ifs’, but at least we now can say ‘if’ when we are talking about victories.
Monza is a track I like. I got made it onto the podium there last year. It would have been a double podium if I had not been taken out in the first corner in race two, when another rider crashed and my bike was hit, causing me to fall too. On this circuit you have a lot of heavy braking and you need to get the bike balanced as you brake. You mostly have chicanes leading onto the long straights, so you need your bike to accelerate well out of these chicanes. Obviously Aprilia is going to be the bike to beat there, but our RR is fast and strong. I am hoping for a good race and to challenge for the win again.”
Monza from a technical point of view:
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
“We showed in Assen that we are competitive in all conditions, but returned home with fewer points than we could have. To get these points is the target for the next race in Monza. It is a very special race track with long straights, where we will be able to make best use of the powerful engine on our BMW S 1000 RR. However, we must also be ready for the slow chicanes with their changes of directions and the famous ‘Lesmo’ and ‘Parabolica’ corners.
Both of our riders have good memories from last year’s races in Monza, as both were on the podium. Even last year, Leon was one in contention for the win. And our bike has been continuously further developed since then. As such, we are confident that our talented riders will compete for the top positions again. In preparation for the races we will work on the set-up, trying to get the maximum from all the new parts we have introduced during the most recent tests.”