The England lap brought a lot of light and shadow for the BMW drivers, as this picture of Jonas Folger, who fell in FP3, shows. The Bavarian even remained without points at the weekend, while fellow brand colleague Eugene Laverty was able to secure at least four points and the works drivers were able to shine.

The good Donington result requires confirmation

The joy of the BMW works team over the good result in Donington Park is understandable. But despite all the euphoria, one should consider some aspects that had clearly favoured this success. Above all, Jonathan Rea’s unexpected crash in the second race on Sunday, without which Tom Sykes would have missed the podium. Scott Redding was also less than six and a half tenths behind the man from Huddersfield, otherwise he would have caught him before the goal. The Ducati man was also faster than Sykes from shortly after the start, but after his failed tire poker in the sprint race in the morning he lost his chance of a better starting grid. That’s why Scott was only on P10 at the beginning and had to fight his way up first. It should also be borne in mind that Sykes and van der Mark are true Donington specialists, and had together 11 wins there in previous years. Still, it was a top result what BMW got in England, and it was nice to see how they were even more successful than Ducati.

“Magic Michael” van der Mark (BMW M-1000RR) took the first (at least symbolic, because not celebrated on a real podium) podium on his German bike on Sunday morning, but was beaten three times by his team-mate, which he would like to correct at his home race in Assen (© BMW Motorrad WorldSBK).

Are the blue-whites in Assen already able to confirm the Donington results?
On the one hand it is of course Michael van der Mark’s favourite track and Tom Sykes also named the Circuit van Drenthe as a favourite when he was asked about it in a recent interview. But the best man in WorldSBK history there is together with former “King Carl” Fogarty, the 12-time Assen winner Jonathan Rea. Scott Redding has never raced there in WorldSBK, but he won two British Superbike (BSB) races in the “Cathedral of Speed”, as the track in the north of the Netherlands is also called. Incidentally, this on the Ducati Panigale V4R, with which Alvaro Bautista had won the overall victory at the last WSBK event in 2019.

We photographed Assen’s podium at the Paddock Show in April 2019 with, from left, winner Alvaro Bautista ( Ducati), second-placed local hero Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha) and old and new world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) in 3rd place.

Many more strong opponents can be expected for BMW in Assen
Even for Garrett Gerloff, the track is no longer new after his MotoGP detour for Petronas Yamaha SRT as a replacement for Frankie Morbidelli. Only Toprak has never achieved a top result there and has three ninth places as the best result. But the Turk is at an all-time high and is now a Yamaha works rider and no longer on the Puccetti Kawasaki as it was then. Then there is Chaz Davies, who scored significantly more points than Sykes in the last five Assen rounds of the WSBK. Not to forget Alex Lowes, who was more successful for Yamaha in 2018 and 2019 than Tom, who is now in the third season for the blue-whites.

Van der Mark ahead of Sykes in Donington Park – At the finish the order was reversed in all three races, but for Assen the man from Gouda is of course a very hot candidate for a podium (© BMW Motorrad WorldSBK).

Tom Sykes (BMW): My thanks go to the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team. We came here, tried to assess the situation after the Navarra test, and I’m really happy with the result. I was in training earlier this week and by the time I got home and got off my balance bike, I was already sure that this would be my weekend. On Friday, I crossed the line and went down twice. Sometimes you have to go to the limit in order to then know the limits in the race. The guys did an amazing job delivering me a perfect bike in terms of what we had available in our tool kit. I think we got the most out of our package this weekend. We still have to improve, but that’s a big confidence boost for the team and me. It gives everyone what they deserve. And the really nice thing is that we had two BMWs, me and Michael, in the front row in wet conditions and then with the intermediates we were back in the top three under difficult conditions. In the last race it was difficult at the beginning, but in the end it was a dry race on a different rear tire. I’m not really sure that I’m happy with the tire I chose, but we dug deep and the tire gave us a podium, so I’m happy. Hopefully now we can move on to the information we have and try to improve further.

Tom Sykes (BMW M-1000RR) on turn 11 on the ground – Friday didn’t start promisingly, but in wet conditions on Saturday the hoped-for increase was achieved and after that it went surprisingly well even in the dry.

Michael van der Mark (BMW): We are very satisfied. Getting the problems under control from the beginning is very good, and it takes a bit of the pressure off as we focus on the next few laps. There is still a lot to be done. I was hoping for rain today, but it didn’t come in the afternoon. So it was excellent to confirm our performance in a complete dry race on slicks, because in such conditions we were definitely not as competitive in the last race and also at the beginning of this weekend. To achieve a total of three podium places is of course more than gratifying. We can build on that. Our Superpole qualifying was definitely decisive for this weekend. If you look at the pace of the others, you immediately understand that you can easily finish sixth, seventh or eighth if you are not in the front row. Now is the time to sit down and look at the data, collect our thoughts, and take the next step.“

Michael van der Mark (BMW M-1000RR, here in front of Kawasaki star Alex Lowes) can breathe a sigh of relief – the man from Gouda finally achieved the first top three result of the season and with Donington at exactly the right time before his home race in the Netherlands.

The ace stats for the last five WorldSBK events

With these figures, it should be noted that there was no Superpole Race before 2019, in which you can win 12 points since then. At Assen, however, there was the special case that the sprint race was cancelled because it was still snowing on the first day and therefore run 1 was postponed to Sunday. The second race took place in the afternoon in the sunshine, and Ducati ace Bautista took the maximum points with a one-two. Johnny Rea achieved the same three times in a row from 2015 to 2017. He got the first one back in 2010, at that time still on Ten Kate Honda, and with one more win he will be the sole record holder in the future. What you can see very well is the fact that many drivers have significantly better statistics than the new World Championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu. The Turk has never achieved more than ninth place, which is why he is facing a huge challenge in three weeks’ time.

Stand in the WorldSBK World Championship after Round 4 in England

Unless otherwise mentioned, applies to all images (© WorldSBK).