BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent head into the 2012 season with confidence, after successfully completing the two-day Pre-Bol d'Or test at Magny-Cours this week.
With no official timing during the two-day test, direct comparisons between teams proved difficult, but BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent was, once again, one of the fastest teams on track, as Sébastien Gimbert, Erwan Nigon, Damian Cudlin and Hugo Marchand put the 2012 BMW S1000RR through its paces.
The team focussed on further refining the set-up of the 2012 BMW S1000RR during the test, as well as working closely with Michelin to identify the best tyre options for the Magny-Cours track.
Overall it was another positive test for BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent, who will return to Magny-Cours in just two week's time for the Bol d'Or, the opening race of the 2012 Endurance World Championship, which takes place over the weekend of 14th and 15th April.
"The pre-Bol d'Or was another good test for us, with a lot of progress made with the bike. The 2012 BMW S1000RR is very different to last year's bike. It's more manoeuvrable, has better traction and is definitely a big step forward in terms of performance. We have also found a good set-up that makes the bike easy to ride, which is important for a 24-hour race at a physically demanding circuit like Magny-Cours. Michelin have also been working hard over the winter, with a new rear tyre bringing us a big improvement in grip. Overall I have a good feeling with the new bike and the same is true of my three teammates, which the lap times show quite clearly. But testing is done; now we must race. A lot can happen during 24 hours of racing, but I'm confident that we can start the season with a good result at the Bol d'Or. I'm not just ready to race, I'm really ready to race!"
"We completed a lot of work on the bike during the two days at Magny-Cours. We tested many changes to the balance, to the front fork and to the chassis, with positive results. We ended up with two good settings; one that made the bike easy to ride and one that was ultimately quicker, but demanded more input from the rider. Now we need to analyse the data, to find a final set-up that combines the best of these two options for the race. I am ready to race. I have confidence in the BMW S1000RR, in my teammates and in my team, so I'm sure we can start the season strongly at the Bol d'Or."
"I missed the first day of the test, because I was travelling back from Jerez, but I was on the pace from the start on day two, which just shows how good the BMW S1000RR is. The bike is fast, without a doubt, but we still have some work to do ahead of the first race. We need to make the bike easier to ride for 24 hours, as it's quite physically demanding at the moment, but we made progress with this towards the end of the test and I know we have a good starting point for the first practice session ahead of the Bol d'Or. The preseason tests have gone well, but now I'm looking forward to racing the 2012 BMW S1000RR for the first time at Magny-Cours."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Manager
"The pre-Bol d'Or test at Magny-Cours is an important one for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is ideal preparation for the first race of the season, which takes place on the same circuit just two weeks later. Secondly, it is the first time that all the teams come together to test, allowing everyone to gauge just how strong the competition will be during the season. Direct comparisons were difficult, as there was no live timing at the test, but it was clear that we were on the pace, as we expected to be. Starting the season with a 24 hour race like the Bol d'Or is tough for everyone - a lot can happen when you race around the clock - but we have done the work during the winter and hopefully we'll reap the benefits in the race."