Looking back over BMW's maiden campaign in the hotly-disputed World Superbike Championship (WSBK), Troy Corser has reflected that there are many reasons to be cheerful – and now he hopes the momentum can be maintained into 2010.
Nobody really knew what to expect when BMW announced its intention to enter WSBK in 2009, but Corser proved the benefits of his wealth of experience and undimmed raw pace to popularly finish inside the top ten aboard the S1000RR on its Phillip Island debut in front of his partisan home supporters in early March.
There would be 14 further points-scoring finishes – all bar three of them inside the top ten – between then and the Portuguese finale, and whilst the Australian had to wait until the Czech Republic almost five months later to better that initial eighth-place effort, when he did so he did it in style, with a superb fifth position at Brno, a season high.
What's more, at both Brno and on BMW's home turf at the Nürburging six weeks later, the 38-year-old battled his way determinedly into the final knock-out stage of the Superpole qualifying session to line up sixth on the starting grid, and he placed eighth at Magny-Cours and Portimão. Though the front row frustratingly eluded him, for what was to all intents and purposes a start-up team, it was a fine showing indeed.
“I think to begin with, this year was really just our learning year, which is understandable,” the double WSBK Champion told Crash.net Radio
. “To come in and ride a new machine with some personnel around you that you already know is hard enough, so to come in with new personnel, a new bike, new sponsors, a new team – everything – was a big challenge. As the year progressed, the bike improved steadily and steadily and our goals kept moving a little bit – each time we had a good weekend we got a bit closer.
“When we came back from our [summer] break, the bike had made a good step forward and we finished the season reasonably strong. Our results were fairly consistent – in the top ten all the time, top six or seven pretty much – and our lap times were pretty close to the front-runners. The high points were probably our qualifying for Superpole and stuff like that – the last shoot-out – because for us, our goal really was to go for a front row start. We got very, very close many times, but didn't quite get there.
“The lows were probably just the races where we didn't actually finish either through a crash or a mechanical; we didn't have that many, but when we did it was just a shame because we lost that track time for information for the future. There were a lot more highs than lows, though, that's for sure, and we've got something strong to take on for next year.
“I think to walk away with more-or-less 100 championship points this year for our first season is an incredible achievement really, not just for myself but for the reliability of the bike and the team. That's more points than most people score most times they've raced in the championship, so for a manufacturer to do that first time off I think shows off the capabilities of the bike. It has come on a long way, and I think we've got a lot of good information and technical set-up for next year to pretty much go to the track and start racing.”
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