- Difficult final weekend for BMW Motorrad Motorsport in unsettled weather.
- Eugene Laverty injures his hip in an accident in Sunday’s race.
- Marc Bongers: “On the whole, it was a mixed weekend for us”.
Phillip Island. The final round of this season’s FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) at Phillip Island, Australia, was overshadowed by a serious accident involving Eugene Laverty (IRL). The racer from the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team crashed in race two on Sunday and was hit by another rider. Laverty was initially taken to the Medical Centre. He was stable, responsive and had feeling in all extremities. He then was flown to a Melbourne hospital for further examinations. So far, a fracture in his hip was diagnosed.
Overall, it proved to be a difficult final weekend for BMW Motorrad Motorsport in southern Australia. Constant weather changes made getting the right set-up and tyre selection a real challenge. Having rained beforehand, conditions were dry for the Superpole at noon on Saturday. Scott Redding (GBR) from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team was the best-placed BMW rider in twelfth, followed by Laverty in 13th. Michael van der Mark (NED / BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) ended qualifying in 15th place, while Loris Baz (FRA / Bonovo action BMW Racing Team) was 18th.
The track was wet for the start of race one on Saturday afternoon but dried quickly during the race, with the entire field pitting to change tyres. Baz made up nine positions and came home ninth to claim another top ten result. Redding was 16th, while Laverty crossed the finish line in 18th place. Van der Mark crashed twice and had to retire.
Conditions were similar for the Superpole Race on Sunday morning. Redding, who lined up on wet tyres, came into the pits to switch to intermediates after the warm-up lap. This meant he had to start from the pit lane, but the tyre selection proved to be the right one. Starting from the back of the field, Redding had climbed into sixth place by the end of the ten-lap sprint. Baz, again starting 18th, was tenth and only narrowly missed out on ninth place. Laverty finished 15th. Van der Mark had to come into the pits during the race to switch from wets to slicks, and eventually came home 21st.
Race two on Sunday afternoon began promisingly with Redding sprinting to the front at the start and running second over the opening laps while Laverty found himself eighth after lap one. However, as the race progressed, both riders dropped back through the field before the race was red flagged after Laverty’s accident. Redding came home sixth, Baz tenth, and van der Mark twelfth.