BMW are set to venture into unchartered territory for the second round of the World Superbike Championship when they visit the Losail circuit for the first time.
The German manufacturer made a fine WSBK debut in Australia, with Troy Corser finishing eighth from 17th on the grid in the first race and scoring the fastest lap in the process.
However, having tested at Phillip Island prior to the event, BMW now head to a completely new circuit where they will face arguably a bigger challenge in attempting to finish inside the top ten.
Still, with riders Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus achieving a podium each during the event last year, albeit racing for Yamaha and Ducati respectively, BMW have a good basis from which to start.
“Getting an eighth in Phillip Island was a fantastic result and gave us all great hope for the season. But now we are going to a track and we have no data about if for our bike and that is going to be a big disadvantage.
“The race weekend in Phillip Island was real eye-opener for our team and things happened during the three days that don't happen in tests, so the team gained a lot of experience. We all have to build on that but all the guys are very committed and are working hard to push this project forward as quickly as possible. Qatar will be an interesting test for us all, but we're going to give it 100% and see what happens.
“I think that Phillip Island showed that our team is going to be competitor - and sooner rather than later,” added Xaus. “If I hadn't had two or three collisions in race one, I am sure I would've had a much better result and probably been able to challenge for a top ten place. But at least, I stayed on the bike and I'm happy because Troy got a great result in the first race and we managed to finish both races.
“Qatar is going to be harder because our bike will be racing there for the first time and so we don't have any data or telemetry to work from. We all have to be at 100% right from the start and push all the way to end, but this is a great team and who knows what may happen?”
BMW motorsport director Berti Hauser, meanwhile, is looking forward to Qatar following their encouraging debut in Australia and is confident the team are heading in the right direction.
“It was great to finally start our big adventure and fantastic to get such a good result in the first race. If there hadn't been a problem in Superpole, who knows what result would've been possible? Our team have a tremendous work ethic and I am so happy because I think everybody can see that we mean business and that we are going to be a competitive force before too long.”