Shaun Muir hails gains as BMW closes on first WorldSBK since 2013

It has been six years since BMW last celebrated a WorldSBK podium but Shaun Muir suggests it is close to breaking the drought soon

Shaun Muir believes his BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team has made a step forward that will see it competing more consistently at the sharp end of the World Superbike Championship after an eye-catching showing at Imola.

Having run a pair of privateer BMWs initially on the team’s move from British Superbikes to World Superbikes in 2016, Shaun Muir Racing has been entrusted to the manufacturer’s reinvigorated factory programme armed with the all-new BMW S1000RR.

With the bike still in development during this first-half of the 2019 WorldSBK season, the bike has nonetheless shown flashes of form in the hands of 2013 champion Tom Sykes and long-time BMW protégé Markus Reiterberger.

With the bike’s chassis receiving particular praise from Sykes – who raced the multiple title-winning Kawasaki ZX-10R/RR between 2010 and 2018 – the Briton has been especially stronger over a single lap when it can make full use of the nimble platform.

However, having come up shorter in races, partly because of an engine was more than 20km/h slower than the Ducati’s initially the BMW of Sykes demonstrated its most consistent podium-challenging pace at Imola.

Though technical issues in race one forced Sykes to retire from third place, Muir says that effort plus the Yorkshireman’s charge from the pit-lane to eighth in the Superpole race are indicative of the gains being made every time the bike hits the track.

“We proved again that the BMW S 1000 RR is getting very quick now. We have a good pace and I was looking forward to a dry race. In the Superpole Race Tom unfortunately had to start from pit lane. He did the sighting lap to the grid on race tyres.

“Due to the low temperatures, the tyre pressure slightly dropped below the limit. We will adapt the procedures to avoid this in the future. Tom’s race then was very positive. With his lap times he could have been battling for the fourth position which is a fantastic position to be in.

“Overall we can say after this weekend that we are now showing that with its pace the bike can be fast now at many circuits. We can carry this forward and it’s also important that we will have a test in Misano before Jerez because we once again have many things to test.”

BMW has retained a constant presence in WorldSBK since the S1000RR debuted in 2009, though this has come with a varying degree of factory support. Even so, it has been a remarkable six years since the manufacturer’s last WorldSBK podium – a second place for Marco Melandri at Jerez in 2013.

In all, BMW has accumulated 39 WorldSBK podiums over the last decade, though 36 of those came in the 2012 and 2013 seasons largely courtesy of Melandri, Leon Haslam and Chaz Davies.

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