Portimão. the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team reflects on a positive penultimate season event of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) at Portimão, Portugal. Michael van der Mark (NED) from the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team made a strong comeback with several impressive seventh-place finishes after his injury break.
In the Superpole qualifying session on Saturday morning, van der Mark was the best BMW rider, finishing seventh. His teammate Scott Redding (GBR) secured the eleventh position.
Due to a penalty for a competitor, van der Mark and Redding each moved up one position on the start grid for race one on Saturday afternoon. The race once again showcased the potential of the BMW M 1000 RR. Van der Mark was running in the front group after a good start and was fifth before spending a long time in fourth place during the second half of the race. Van der Mark only lost a few positions towards the end and secured an important strong result, finishing seventh. Unfortunately, Redding struggled to find a good feeling with the bike during the race and crossed the finish line in 15th place.
In the Superpole race on Sunday morning, van der Mark confirmed his seventh place with another consistent performance, with Redding following closely behind him in 13th place, just hundredths of a second apart.
In the concluding second main race, Van der Mark concluded the weekend with an 11th place. Redding had bad luck, as he was pushed off the track in turn three and ultimately finished in 14th position.
The season finale of WorldSBK 2023 will take place from October 27th to 29th at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
Reactions to the Portimão round.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “In general, our overall summary of the weekend is very positive. Let’s start with the challenging points. It was a tough weekend for Scott. He couldn’t find his rhythm. We tried a lot but we have not been able to move him up the field. Now, onto the very positive aspects. It was extremely gratifying to see that Michael, just as he did at Aragón, came into great form in the first race here. He had a lot of confidence from the first practice session on and genuinely enjoyed riding. Kudos to Mickey for being able to put two serious injuries behind him mentally. He knows that he still needs to work on his physical condition, but this weekend was extremely positive.”
Michael van der Mark, #60 ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team (SP: 7 / R01: 7 / SP Race: 7 / R02: 11): “I am really happy with the weekend overall. From Friday on, I straight away felt very good on the bike. We keep working on the bike but we just made small changes. I am really happy with this weekend’s results. This morning P7 in the Superpole race, I was quite happy with it. I saw that I just miss some race rhythm but anyway, I was really satisfied. The field is so close and you must have a good start position. So it was P7 on the grid for race two. I had a really good start. Unfortunately in turn one, I was a bit unlucky and then I couldn’t gain the places back. And honestly I struggled a bit, I just didn’t feel as good as I felt before. But it’s another race under our belt, we scored some good points and most of all, I enjoyed riding this weekend very much.”
Scott Redding, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team (SP: 11 / R01: 15 / SP Race: 13 / R02: 14): “It has been a very disappointing weekend. I struggled a lot to find my rhythm and a feeling for the bike. That made it impossible to attack. The whole team has been working hard over the entire weekend and we tried a lot of different things in the sessions but we haven’t been able to find the right solution. We now have a few weeks off, time for all of us to recharge after the double-header, and then we aim to come back much stronger at the season finale.”