After a successful test in Imola the day after the Superbike World Championship round there, BMW Motorrad Motorsport is delighted to make the journey to the Assen circuit in The Netherlands for round three of this year’s WSBK series.
Currently fourth in the points standings after celebrating an historic double podium for the team in Imola, Leon Haslam is looking forwards to returning to the 4.555 km Dutch track that always produces excellent racing and spectacular viewing for Superbike fans – many of whom make the annual pilgrimage from the UK to support their racing heroes.
“Assen is one of my favourite circuits,” said the 28-year-old British rider. “It is one of the old tracks and has a lot of history. The circuit is very fast and flowing, it is more an ‘old school’ circuit and always produces exciting races. There are always many fans coming over from England, so for me the atmosphere is always great. Last year we made a mistake in race one where we crashed, but in race two we had a top five finish, so for sure the S 1000 RR can be good at Assen and I am looking forward to going there with our new bike and the new set-up.
“At the first races in Australia and Italy, the RR was very stable so we can see where we can make improvements and where we need to work,” continued Haslam. “Because of this I am really looking forward to every race. We are now coming closer and closer to the victory and if we have a chance to win then we will take it! In Imola we were less than three seconds from winning and although we had some small issues there we made it to the podium and were very close to the front guys. This is all very positive and hopefully we can continue this at Assen.”
For team-mate Marco Melandri, Assen offers a chance to move further up the 2012 WSBK leader-board. Currently fifth in the points – just a single point behind Haslam – the talented Italian was a top four finisher at the Dutch circuit last year and will be aiming his sights even higher with the BMW RR factory Superbike.
“I have very good memories of Assen,” said Melandri after a successful Imola test. “I celebrated my first victory in the 125cc World Championship there when I was 15 so it is a really special racetrack for me. Unfortunately the track now is much shorter and is not the same as it was before – the old Assen was awesome. This new one is okay and the last part is very nice, but the first part is very slow. At the test at Imola we found some good solutions. Now I am more confident and hopefully we can see the results of this at Assen. I hope to have two good races and to fight for the podium. Whatever happens, the team and I will give our best.”
For Head of Race Operations Andrea Dosoli, this third round of the 2012 championship at the flowing circuit is a great opportunity to show that the team’s meticulous preparation is beginning to pay dividends. The experienced Italian is confident that BMW Motorrad Motorsport will make another step forward and show the potential of the RR in The Netherlands.
“After the double podium we achieved at Imola and the positive test we had there the Monday after the race, we are now looking forward to the race weekend at Assen,” he said. “The ‘TT Circuit’ is an historic racetrack with a tricky, flowing layout and many changes of direction. It requires the rider’s full concentration and does not give him any time to breathe. The circuit’s characteristics demand a bike that handles well – not only in the fast corners but also in the tight hairpin – and you always have to be prepared for the unpredictable Dutch weather.
“But we are all ready for this tough challenge. Both riders are highly motivated and focused. Leon and his crew want to build on the successful weekend they had at Imola, and with the same approach he will be able to fight for the top positions at Assen. Marco is determined to leave the disappointment he experienced at his home race behind him. At Imola, the circumstances did not allow him to show his talent and his potential, but at the test there the following Monday, he and his crew were able to find a solution for their issues. As a result, we are confident that this time he will also fight for the podium.”
It’s also worth looking out for Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio, who will be flying the flag for the BMW Motorrad Italia team in Assen. Badovini is a previous winner on the RR at this circuit, having won there in 2010 in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, while Fabrizio finished in fifth and seventh at the corresponding WSBK round in 2011.
This venue will also host the second round of the 2012 Superstock 1000 FIM Cup series, where France’s Sylvain Barrier will be in confident frame of mind after winning the opening race of the season on his RR for the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet Team. Hot on his heels will be team-mate Lorenzo Barroni, and Team Alpha Racing’s Markus Reiterberger, who narrowly missed his first podium in this series, finishing fourth on his RR at Imola.
BMW Motorrad motorsport fans will be glad to know that a full race results service including previews, qualifying and race reports will be available throughout 2012, in English and German, on the www.bmw-motorrad.com/superbike website. Fans can also subscribe to a motorsport newsletter to receive news directly via email: www.bmw-motorrad.com/newsletter.