WSBK et al. Rea takes the double as spectators win big at Assen 2010 World Superbike Assen Sunday insider

Race Highlights: Race 1 Race 2

BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Assen - Races 25.04.2010
Press Release
Weather conditions: Sunny.
Temperature: Air: 15 26 ??C, Track: 13 37 ??C
Number of riders participating: 22 from 12 teams
Fastest lap Race 1: Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) 1:36.413 min
Fastest lap Race 2: Jonathan Rea (HANNspree Ten Kate Honda) 1:36.312 min

Again, there was reason to celebrate for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport: Finishing in the top five twice and scoring a total of 22 points in the manufacturers standings, the team leaves Assen with the best result so far in its history in the FIM Superbike Wold Championship.

Race 1: Troy Corser (AUS) finished the race in fifth, just 2.738 seconds behind race winner, Jonathan Rea (GBR). Troy started the race well and took the lead just before turn 1, but was not able to hold onto his position due to tyre wear. Ruben Xaus (ESP) crashed and did not finish the race.

Race 2: As in the first race, Troy was fifth, while Ruben finished in tenth. Both Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport riders had great starts and raced well over the course of the race. Troy finished the race two tenths off the podium and set the second fastest lap overall.

Troy Corser:
Bike: BMW S 1000 RR
Result Race 1: 5th, Gap to 1st: 00:02.738 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:36.523 min
Result Race 2: 5th, Gap to 1st: 00:04.176 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:36.373 min
ǣObviously the improvements we found at the Mugello test were pretty useful. When we rolled the bike out here we were pretty good right from the start. We did not have to change a lot. In the first race the rear tyre just did not last long enough. I changed the electronics a bit, but that was pretty much it. For the second race we decided to run the bike a little more controlled at the beginning to save the tyres. It definitely seemed to work better, and my lap times were more consistent. I can now change the way I ride the bike. We have not had that all year. I am pretty happy.

Ruben Xaus:
Bike: BMW S 1000 RR
Result Race 1: DNF, Gap to 1st: 14 laps / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:37.009 min
Result Race 2: 10th, Gap to 1st: 00:11.486 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:37.206 min
ǣI had some problems in the first race which resulted in me crashing, but we made some changes and the bike worked a lot better in race two. I got a great start and was with the top guys, but I had one bad lap where four riders passed me, which affected my rhythm. On the whole I feel I have got the bike working how I want it I just need to find a traction control setting that suits my style.

Berthold Hauser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):
ǣThe weekends result is really more than we expected. We definitely improved and proved that we are close to the top. We saw great racing from our riders in both races today. Thats what the spectators expect from BMW. Finishing two tenths off the podium in race 2 proves that we are competitive. The team and the riders did a great job.

A hat-trick for Team BMW Motorrad Italia STK in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup: Serafino Fotis team leaves Assen with a perfect record of three wins in three races. Again, Ayrton Badovini (ITA) was the race winner, just over two seconds ahead of Frenchman Maxime Berger. Ayrton now leads the overall riders standings with the maximum possible of 75 points, ahead of compatriot Davide Giugliano (45) and Maxime Barrier (40). In the manufacturers' standings, BMW also leads with 75 points ahead of Honda (53).

Saturday, April 24, 2010, 7:00:00 PM
Troy left Assen today, happy with two fifth places on his BMW S 1000 RR and is already looking forward to his next race. After what seems a long time Troy now has a bike that can compete with the best, thanks to the recent good work done by the team. Troy got the holeshot, led the first race for ten laps and looked in command until his tyres started going off five or six laps or so before the end. He didnt get the holeshot in race two, but charged past Jonathan Rea (Honda) after seven laps and once again controlled things from the front. This time his lead lasted four laps, but at least he showed that he and the bike can run at the front for more than just one lap. Rea won both 22-lap races today, much to the huge delight of his team who are based nearby. He had to fight for his first ever double and the second race will go down as one of the closest fought races in World Superbike history. James Toseland (Yamaha) took second in race one, with Leon Camier (Aprilia) third, making it a clean sweep of British riders. The second race saw another all-Brit podium, with Leon Haslam (Suzuki) second and Toseland third. Troy - Race 1: 5th, Race 2: 5th The podium was not far off, but Im really happy how today and this weekend has gone. It was really good to lead a race again - and not just for one lap! I felt very comfortable in the lead both times and enjoyed riding the bike without thinking about it. Now, Im looking forward to getting back on the bike again and going racing! I always knew that we would get to this stage, but I didnt know when it would happen. Our bike is as fast as anything out there, except for maybe the Aprilias, and the only thing I am missing now is getting out of the turns as quickly as some of my competitors. I suffered a bit in the final chicane, but was pretty much a match for everybody else in the rest of the track. The rear tyre didnt last long enough in race one, so I had to adjust the electronics to compensate for it and that slowed me a little in the second part of the race. In race two, the rear was pretty chewed up at the end, but I was happy in both races because I felt I was actually racing for a podium, not just riding around for points. The racing was really close today and many times we nearly touched elbows or handlebars and it must have great viewing for the fans at the track and on TV. I got pushed out a few times, but it was all pretty fair and just normal for this series. Now that I am comfortable on the bike I dont mind the cut and thrust because it is part of the package and I can give as good as I get. I know I probably dont say this often, and probably not this season so far, but today I am very happy! See ya, Troy

MotoGP Lorenzo hoping to fight for victory at Jerez.


After ǣwatching the second Assen race on World Superbike Live Timing I went jumped on the bike and went about my normal Sunday rounds. It was a cold and blustery morning here in fly-over-land and I was glad to go inside at each of my stops to go in and warm up. I will admit to being more than a little distracted as when I was suppose to be listening to others talk. A question kept running through my head; has BMW Motorrad Motorsport finally become a race team?

Corsers fourth at Portimao may have been the best finish so far but as I closed my laptop that weekend I still had a sense BMW was still a team in development; clearly the latter stages of that process but still in development. Closing my laptop after this Sundays races I wondered if at the end of this season I would look back at the Assen race and say that is when BMW Motorrad Motorsport became a racing team?

I watch most WSBK and F1 races on live timing. There is no video just streams of numbers on the screen showing times positions gaps sector times and more. It may seem an odd way to watch a race but I like it. It allows me to pick up on and follow things that the video feeds and commentaries on Speed dont follow. In the case of BMW Motorrad Motorsport in the past they had little screen time so live timing was the way to zero in on them. Let me tell you about some of the things I follow and what I have seen.

Top Speed v. Lap Time
Live timing gives the top speed for a driver. This has been one place where the S1000RR has often been a winner. Each race weekend there is a small cluster of riders and bikes that turn in the top trap speeds for practice qualifying and the two races. Some race weekends, even as recently as Portimao, the team has posted top speeds as much as 10mph higher than their opponents. The problem for this cluster is with very rare exceptions these are not the riders and bikes that turn in the best lap times.

WSBK is road racing not drag racing and lap times are a combination of dashes down straights as fast as you can and carrying as much of that speed through the corner to make the next dash down a straight. To much speed going into a corner can make you slower through the corner. The rider grabs a big hand full of brake along with stomping their right foot to slow their bike down. This too often results in giving you a slower starting point after the transition from braking and negotiating the turn the corner to build your next straight dash from. The result is a great top speed and a slow lap time. On Saturday after qualifying if you are handicapping a Sunday race the guys with the big trap speeds move down your grid sheet in position.

Practice Sessions
Practice sessions quickly sort riders into the fast the quick and the dead.

The Fast: These are the riders with the top trap speeds and the S1000RR has often been in this group. This group of riders with great consistency post top speeds between 6 and 10 mph faster than leaders of the next group.
The Quick: These are riders with really good trap speeds. Rarely are they the fastest trap speeds (Last year Ben Spies would pull this double on occasion but not often) but they are strong. Speed is combined with cornering to give the best lap times. As the weekend progresses the top trap speeds of the quick riders often increase but rarely meet or exceed The Fast.
The Dead: While not literally dead these are the riders who lack trap speed and lap time and thus are relegated race after race to the middle or back of the pack.

Practice sessions are spent finding the setup for qualifying and the race that combine the best of The Fast and The Quick to yield top lap times for qualifying and a setup that will best sustain that level over the length of a race.

Qualifying is an entrant sorting process to form a grid for Sundays races and nothing more using the best lap time for a rider in a given qualifying round to do this. It has a great impact on how Sunday races may play out but the predictive value of where racers qualify and race results is not one to one due to the difference in how the two work on the track.

Riders take to the track in qualifying in burst of 3 laps. Pit out for a warm up lap to get to speed. Lap 2 is a flying lap and the third is hopefully better then Pit in. In the pit the rider rests, mechanics make adjustments and when ready rider and bike repeat the process trying to improve the time. Riders space themselves and there will be no rider to rider duels. The duel is with the clock.

In qualifying a Fast Rider can muscle his bike around for these three lap burst and place high in the qualifying standings. Quick Riders are able to practice their art relatively unimpeded. The Dead can put together a lap combination that can propel them up the grid but bears no resemblance to their sustaining power in a race.

Sunday Races
The two race format for the Sunday WSBK event has always seemed a bit odd to me; all be it in a good way. Riders score points in each race so tight championship hunts such as last years can turn on a dime in the same weekend. For my purposes in this piece think of the Sunday races as one race with one really long pit stop.

When the lights go green for Race 1 the duels begin. Fast Riders can have an advantage in the early stages of a race wining the race to turn one and pulling speed gaps while other riders behind them dice with each other. Unlike qualifying this advantage must be sustained for the race length. Too often for the Fast Rider the race takes its toll on tires brakes and rider stamina and their early leads are relinquished to Quick Riders who are able to better manage the race life of tires brakes and rider to build and hold position over the length of a race and rack up wins.

BMW Motorrad Motorsport and Assen 2010
Prior to Assen the S1000RR and riders Corser and Xaus have been in the Fast group. The BMW has always been able to turn in trap speeds that meet or exceed the competition. The trouble is in the past this has not translated into lap times in qualifying or high race finishes. Even at this years Portimao race when Corser scored his best finish with a P4 in Race 1 the bike was a Fast Bike. As such on Sunday it would use up tires brakes and riders. The team progressed as the race calendar has clicked by progressing from rookie status that had them firmly in the Dead to Fast Bike able to pull off hole shots lead briefly and burn up as the race progressed. The riders and bike have never teamed up to produce the results that the data panels for each would suggest they are capable of. This was the pattern until Assen.

I watched live timing for a practice session and my curiosity was immediately aroused. Corsers lap times were good, at times very good, but he was not turning in the fastest trap speeds I had come to expect. Practice lap times are difficult to compare from team to team. Each is always trying to do their best but what are they working on? Are they sorting a qualifying or race set up? Are they testing a part or setup change? As the session and the weekend progressed it became clear that BMW was truing in strong lap times with trap speeds that were in the range of the Quick Riders. Something was up.

Beyond the obvious fact that Corser led the first 10 laps of Race 1 and led at several points in Race 2 Sundays races played out in a way they have not in the past.

The live timing screen gives the viewer a great deal of real time data including lap times trap speeds sector times (intervals in WSBK terms. The track is divided into three parts and a riders time for each interval or sector is show.) gaps to the leader as well as position for a lap. Color is added as the data comes in. In several data columns the rider in P1 has a red panel with leader in white letters shown. After the first lap a rider can go green in a column. This means they have set a personal best time for lap time or sector.

The Live Timing screen for Sundays races lit up like a Christmas tree and for much of the time Corser and his BMW was the star on top in red. Green lights flickered all over the board below. As the races unfolded other riders and bikes would take on the red star role. When the board is not showing green I watch the gap column closely along with sector times to see who is dueling and anticipate position changes. As race two moved into its final laps I saw Corser loose position and felt much as I have in races past. Then in the closing laps of race two he went green and took back a position. At the end of Race 2, when normally rider and bike would be all used up, rider brakes and tires still had life left in them to race.

In the past I have read the post race press releases from BMW Motorrad Motorsport with a jaundiced eye. They have rung of excuses of messaged PR management. The team did not produce a podium or match the 4th place achieved at Portimao but like Corser very happy with the Assen results.

At the end of the season we may look back at the Assen race as the race where the S1000RR and its riders moved from the Fast Bike class and into the Quick Bike group that eventually takes podiums and wins races.