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01 July 2013

BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team



The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team concludes its home round at Imola with both factory riders claiming their best results at the Italian track to date. Local hero, Marco Melandri finished both of today's races at the "Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari" in fourth on his BMW S 1000 RR. His team-mate Chaz Davies claimed sixth and fifth respectively. After seven rounds of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship, Marco is fourth in the riders' championship with 182 points, directly followed by Chaz with 154 points. In the Manufacturers' classification, BMW is currently third with 237 points. Both races today were won by Tom Sykes. The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team will stay at Imola and attend tomorrow's official Dorna test.

At the start of race one, both BMW factory riders gained positions. Marco improved from seventh to fifth, Chaz from tenth to seventh. In the early stages of the race, both kept in touch with the front. When Sylvain Guintoli had to retire on lap six, Marco took fourth, Chaz sixth. Until lap 18, Marco stayed close behind third placed Eugene Laverty, but the opportunity to overtake the Irishman did not arise. Then Marco was passed by the catching up Jonathan Rea and slipped back to fifth, only to regain fourth after Rea crashed on lap 19. Marco then tried to overtake Laverty for third but went wide and ended up crossing the line in fourth. Chaz in the meantime was fighting quite a few battles over the course of the race, mainly with his fellow Brit Leon Camier. Chaz slipped back to eighth when Rea and Michel Fabrizio overtook him, but on lap 14 the Welshman started to make his way back forwards and overtook Camier for seventh. After Rea's crash, Chaz was sixth, defending this position until the chequered flag.

At the start of race two both riders improved from their grid positions again. After the first lap, Marco and Chaz were lying in sixth and seventh respectively. After five laps, they had climbed up to fourth and fifth after Davide Giugliano and Laverty had crashed. Until half way through the race, Marco stayed close behind third placed Guintoli, followed by Chaz. Marco's gap to the front started to increase a bit, with Chaz coming closer and closer from behind. On the penultimate lap, Chaz overtook Marco to take fourth but on the final lap, positions between them changed again. The two BMW factory riders fought a close battle for fourth until the final corner, with Marco having a slight advantage in the end.

In the race of the 2013 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, it was once again Sylvain Barrier on the BMW HP4 of the BMW Motorrad GoldBet STK Team to take the win. The Frenchman rode a clever and controlled race to celebrate his third victory of the season. In the riders' classification, Sylvain has now 95 points and has extended his lead to 12 points. His team-mate Greg Gildenhuys (RSA) - who contested his first ever race in Imola - also put in a strong performance. Coming from 17th, he defied the pain in his fractured left heel to finish 10th, scoring important points.

Marco Melandri: "On this track unfortunately our bike struggled. I don't think that we had a chance to win today, so this result is the best possible. Race one has been very hard. I struggled a lot to change direction by shortly opening the gas which I normally do and, unfortunately, I couldn't do better. While in the previous races I had issues with new tyres, here in Imola we struggled a lot with used tyres instead. The race was physically very demanding and at the end of the race I was really tired.

In race two we tried to solve the issue with some changes to the front suspension but the situation did not improve. The bike remained nervous and when I tried to push harder the bike moved more and more. In the last part of the race Chaz passed me and it was very difficult to get the fourth place back. If he had not made a mistake he probably would have been in front in the end. The positive point is that as a result of today I have reduced the gap to the Aprilia riders."

Chaz Davies: "Race one was difficult. I was not able to exit the corners as I wanted to. Everywhere else the bike seemed to be working okay but I could not get the bike under control as much as I would like on the corner exit. I either slided and then found grip what upset the bike or the acceleration was just not good enough. That cost me one bike length each time and I always had to push on the straights to catch that up again - until the next corner. In the end, the bike was easier to ride than in the middle of the race, the grip level was more consistent. It seemed as with the longer the race went on, the bike became better.

We used that knowledge to improve the bike for the second race. The bike was better and I was able to at least fight in a good group with Marco and at the end of the race I still had the guys on the podium positions in sight. The battle with Marco in the closing stages was fun. I passed him with two laps to go and held him off for one lap but then racing up the hill he got a really good drive and he passed back at the top of 'Piratella'. Then in the last corner he went in a little bit too deep and I tried to cut back on the inside but I lost the rear unfortunately when I tried to pass him which was a bit of a shame but it was fun anyway. The only thing I am disappointed about is that I still lost too much time on the exit of slow corners. For some reason, I lost the grip earlier and could not open the gas as hard as I would have liked. It cost me some time on the straights so we really need to work on that tomorrow. At the test we will focus on that and I am confident that we will find something."

Andrea Buzzoni (General Manager BMW Motorrad WSBK): "This Sunday started very well with the victory in the Superstock class. Sylvain rode a perfect race, managing it cleverly. With this result he further increased his lead at the top of the ranking. It was also the first time we raced in Imola with the new HP4 with electronic damping system. This result shows the excellent work done by the team.

In the Superbike class it was a difficult weekend. The result achieved is not what we aim for, even if, on a track which is not favourable for the characteristics of our bike, we limited the damage. In the riders' ranking, thanks to today's result we reduced the gap to the Aprilia' riders both with Marco as well as Chaz. Tomorrow we have a day of testing which we will use to try several new solutions. We have many ideas and the chance to test on a difficult track will be helpful to improve for the next round in Moscow."

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): "We had expected a difficult weekend. We can sum up by saying that session by session we have improved our performance and that Marco was close to the podium in both races. This goes for Chaz as well regarding race two. But it is clear that our package on this track needs some improvement. Marco is not comfortable enough with the chassis, he is not able to enter the corners as quick as the other riders and this is an area we will work on during tomorrow's test. Chaz improved session by session from Friday on; he has done a good job over the weekend. He also has achieved his best result on this track but we are sure that he can do better if we are able to offer him a better package. So we want to work hard with both riders and we want to improve our overall package. We need to keep making progress in order to have a strong second half of the season."

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