The last day of testing of 2012 turned out to be a mirror image of the MotoGP season just finished. As it had so many times this year, rain and wind ruined conditions, making the track far too dangerous for slick tires, and too dry to do any proper testing on wets. And just as they had done so often this year, the few riders remaining at the Jerez combined MotoGP and World Superbike test spent the day sitting in the garage, watching the weather, before calling an early halt to proceedings and heading home.
A few riders did briefly venture out, though to little effect. Nicky Hayden had stayed on for an extra day to help the testing program, after Andrea Dovizioso's neck problem meant that the Italian did only three laps over the first two days of the test. Hayden went out for a few laps to compare the two different wet compounds, and Ducati test rider Michele Pirro put in a few laps as well, but both Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone chose to sit out the final day. Dovizioso's neck problems had not subsided sufficiently, and the conditions were not worth the risk, while Iannone did not feel there was anything to learn on the treacherous conditions.
BMW issued the following press release after completing testing at Aragon:
BMW Motorrad - WSBK - Winter Testing - Motorland Aragón
Alcañiz, 15th November 2012. After the rain-hit test last week at the Spanish Jerez circuit, BMW Motorrad scheduled two more days of testing this week at “Motorland Aragón” near Alcañiz (ESP). There the factory riders Marco Melandri (ITA) and Chaz Davies (GBR) continued the preparation for the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship yesterday and today. Again the team was not too lucky with the weather conditions. Yesterday, Wednesday, and last night it rained again. This morning the track was still damp, but then it dried up. Therefore, at least this afternoon, the team found good conditions to continue its comprehensive testing programme. The highest air and track temperatures reached 17 degrees Celsius.
BMW Motorrad had taken numerous newly developed components for several areas of the BMW S 1000 RR to Alcañiz, which were evaluated by Marco and the team. His new team mate, Chaz, used the time to further familiarise himself with his RR. In total, Marco and Chaz completed 114 laps or 607 kilometres of testing on their RRs.
BMW Motorrad issued the following press release after their first pre-season test at Jerez:
BMW Motorrad - WSBK -Winter testing
05th to 06th November 2012.
Jerez, 06th November 2012. The preparation for the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship is in full swing. BMW Motorrad factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) and his new team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) conducted two days of winter testing in Jerez in the south of Spain. It was Chaz’s first time working on track with BMW Motorrad. He used the two days to get acquainted with his new environment and with his RR. The test was also a good opportunity for the re-structured team to get to grips with each other.
Over the two days, BMW Motorrad evaluated newly developed components for the RR. Unfortunately, track time was reduced due to the changing weather conditions. Yesterday it was dry in the morning but raining in the afternoon. This morning it was still wet before the rain stopped around noon. The highest air and track temperatures reached was between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. In total, Marco and Chaz completed 149 laps or 659 kilometres of testing on their RRs. Having raced there once back in 1990, Jerez will again feature on the Superbike World Championship calendar in 2013 when it will host the season finale in October.
Marco Melandri has been given a suspended jail term of one year and seven months for tax evasion by a court in his home town of Ravenna. Melandri was found guilty of trying to evade taxes during the period he lived in Derby, in the UK, the court finding that Melandri's residence for tax purposes should have been in Ravenna, Italy, Melandri's home town.
Melandri was resident in the UK to take advantage of the British non-domiciled resident status, which allows wealthy non-UK citizens with large incomes from sources outside the UK to avoid paying tax on that income. Melandri was one of several riders who had elected to have their residence in Britain for precisely that reason. Valentino Rossi was one such rider, nominally resident in London, but with "non-dom" status to avoid paying tax on his income. But Rossi was an earlier victim of the Italian tax authorities, the nine-times World Champion being found guilty of tax avoidance in Italy and condemned to pay a fine of 35 million euros in 2008.
The BMW press office issued the following press release today, going back over the events of a successful and eventful 2012 WSBK season for the factory team:
A year full of highlights and milestones for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport.
On winning ways: Team BMW Motorrad Motorsports reviews its best ever season in the FIM Superbike World Championship.
Munich/Stephanskirchen, 11th October 2012. With last weekend’s races at Magny-Cours (FRA), the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship came to a close. Now, after 14 exciting rounds in eleven countries, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport can review the season with satisfaction. It was a year full of highlights and milestones. The targets set have been achieved, namely to close the gap to the teams at the very top and to challenge for the World Championship. The squad established itself within the leading teams and fought for both the Riders’ and the Manufacturers’ title to the very last race.
The BMW World Superbike team issued the following press release updating Marco Melandri's status after his nasty crash at Portimao:
BMW Motorrad Motorsport: Update on Marco Melandri
After returning home, injured BMW Motorrad factory rider Marco Melandri underwent further examinations in Italy.
Munich, 26th September 2012. After his heavy crash in Sunday’s first race at Portimão (POR) and preliminary examinations at the local hospital, BMW Motorrad factory rider Marco Melandri returned home to Italy on Monday. During the last few days he has undergone further medical examinations. These checks confirmed the good news that Marco has no internal injuries. But they showed that in addition to the painful contusions he suffered on his back, the Italian cracked the tenth and 12th ribs on the right side of his chest when he was hit by another bike while lying on the tarmac after his fall in the beginning of the race.
Marco will now rest over the forthcoming days before heading to Magny-Cours (FRA), where the final round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship will be held from 5th to 7th October. According to the team’s doctor, Dr. Vincenzo Tota, the injuries will not prevent him from taking part in the last races of the season. The whole Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport wishes Marco a quick recovery.
BMW Motorrad have announced they will not be running the factory World Superbike team next year, deciding to allow BMW Motorrad Italia (currently the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet team) to run it on their behalf. The engines will be prepared in Munich, along with the electronics, while the chassis will be handled by the Milanese outfit.
This cost-cutting consolidation means that Marco Melandri will be riding the BMW Italia machine in 2013, but his team mate is as yet unconfirmed.
The Press Release follows:
BMW Motorrad realigns motor sports activities: commitment to the Superbike World Championship 2013.
After the earlier press conference with Sylvain Guintoli, Miller Motorsports Park also organized a press conference with BMW Motorrad's Marco Melandri. Melandri faced questions on the difference between the V4s and BMW's inline 4, his adaptation to the BMW and that controversial incident in the final corner of race two at Donington Park. Below is the press release interview issued by Miller Motorsports Park with Melandri:
Miller Motorsports Park Presents: Five Questions with Marco Melandri
A switch to BMW for 2012 results in the German marque’s first World Superbike victory
TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (May 24, 2012) — Miller Motorsports Park will again host the USA Round of the FIM Superbike World Championship on The BigM Weekend, May 26-28. As was the case last year, we will visit with race winners and other notable riders participating in the championship after each race during the 2012 season leading up to The BigM Weekend and bring you a new chapter in the “Five Questions with” series.
The subject of our fourth installment of the season is 29-year-old Italian Marco Melandri, who rides the No. 33 BMW S1000 RR for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. Melandri, who came to World Superbike last year with Yamaha, having spent the past seven seasons in MotoGP. Prior to moving up to MotoGP, he won the 250cc World Championship for Aprilia in 2002. He won four races and one pole with Yamaha, but made the move to BMW this year to take the seat vacated by the retiring Troy Corser. He made history at England’s Donington Park circuit on May 13, taking the German marque’s first series victory, and heads into this weekend’s BigM Weekend at Miller Motorsports Park with significant momentum.
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.
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.