BMW have been waiting for a win in World Superbikes for a long time. Ever since they entered the series in 2009, the German factory has been edging ever closer to podiums and a victory, but they have always proved elusive. At Donington, they finally got what they had been waiting for for so long, and more: Not only did Marco Melandri become the first ever rider to win a World Superbike race on a BMW, but his teammate Leon Haslam finished 2nd, making it a historic 1-2. The duo could even have repeated the feat in the second race at the British track, if not for some rather excessively enthusiastic riding on the part of the two leaders and Johnny Rea.
After the victory, BMW issued a press release containing an interview with Melandri and Haslam, talking about their historic result at Donington. It is reproduced below:
After the first one-two: Double-interview with Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam.
They made history: The two BMW Motorrad Motorsport factory riders speak about the milestone they achieved at Donington.
Munich/Stephanskirchen, 16th May 2012. There was endless jubilation in the BMW Motorrad Motorsport garage. When factory riders Marco Melandri (ITA) and Leon Haslam (GBR) crossed the finish line of race one at Donington (GBR), they gave BMW Motorrad its long awaited milestone – not only the first ever victory for the Bavarian manufacturer in the FIM Superbike World Championship, but also the first one-two win. While both riders were fighting at the very top from start to finish, it was Marco that took the honour of being the first winner on the BMW S 1000 RR. Leon completed the triumph being second, just 0.7 seconds behind the Italian. In a double interview, the two factory riders speak about this historic day.
“Marco, in an exciting first race at Donington, you and Leon achieved the first ever one-two victory for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. What does this historic success mean to you?”
If the opening round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship taught us anything, it's that this looks to be a two-horse race. Assuming no major wrenches are thrown in the works. Aprilia's Max Biaggi and Althea Ducati's Carlos Checa had the pace of everyone else in the field covered. Handily. And each of the early championship-protagonists cruised to victory without having to worry about the other after a couple of off-track excursions.
Saturday’s World Superbike Superpole and World Supersport final qualifying sessions from Philip Island were cancelled after a serious accident in the Australian Supersport race resulted in the death of Australian rider Oscar McIntyre. The 17-year-old collided with fellow racers Luke Burgess and Michael Lockhart on the second lap of the Australian support race and died despite receiving immediate medical treatment at the scene. Because of the seriousness of the accident, the event organizers decided to cancel Superpole.
Press releases from the World Superbike teams after the private test at Phillip Island:
With the 2012 World Superbike season just over two weeks away, preparations are ramping up for the return of racing. As part of those preparations, BMW issued a press release interview with their new Head of Race Operations, Andrea Dosoli. Dosoli came to BMW from Yamaha, along with Marco Melandri, who he had previously worked with at the Hayate team formed when Kawasaki officially pulled out of MotoGP in 2009. In the interview, Dosoli covers a lot of ground, including his impression of BMW's World Superbike effort, his role within the team, his expectations of the BMW S1000RR machine and his hopes for riders Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam.
Below is the text of the interview, issued by BMW:
Interview with Andrea Dosoli: “BMW Motorrad Motorsport has a lot of potential in many areas.”
Munich/Stephanskirchen, 09th February 2012. The countdown is on: today, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport is traveling to Phillip Island. On the Australian Island the curtain raiser for the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship will be held on 26th February. Before that, the Bavarian squad will conduct two more tests at this venue. Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport has a new face in its management team with Andrea Dosoli, who is Head of Race Operations. The 39-year-old Italian is responsible for the race team at races and tests and has been in this position since the beginning of the year. In an interview, Dosoli speaks about his first impressions of BMW Motorrad Motorsport, his expectations for the riders and the team and his duties and targets.
What do you consider to be the major attraction of your role as Head of Race Operations for BMW Motorrad Motorsport?
The BMW World Superbike squad spent two days testing at Valencia, where they worked mainly on electronics strategies and the latest version of the BMW S1000RR engine.
Despite the loss of the factory Yamaha team, the World Superbike series is still in relatively good health, considering the financial crisis. Though the days of 30+ rider grids are gone, grid size has stabilized at around the 22 rider mark, 1 up from last year, while there are still 6 manufacturers present, Aprilia, BMW, Ducati and Kawasaki in an official capacity, Honda unofficially via Ten Kate, and Suzuki absent, with Crescent working with Yoshimura on their own bikes.
The field has seen some changes, though most of the title favorites are staying with the teams they were with in 2011. Carlos Checa remains with Althea Ducati, though the effort expands to include 2011 Superstock champ Davide Giugliano, while Max Biaggi is in the second year of his 2-year contract with Aprilia, and Johnny Rea is staying with the Ten Kate Honda squad. Championship runner up Marco Melandri has been forced to move, joining Leon Haslam at BMW, while his erstwhile teammate Eugene Laverty has been paired with Biaggi in the factory Aprilia squad. The factory Kawasaki rider contingent is cut from 3 to 2, Chris Vermeulen losing his slot, while Tom Sykes remains alongside Joan Lascorz.
Provisional rider entry list for the 2012 World Superbike series: