BMW Motorrad duo Leon Haslam and Troy Corser have the podium firmly in their sights as they head across the Pond to Miller Motorsports Park for the fifth round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship this weekend.
BMW achieved its second rostrum of the campaign last time out at Monza courtesy of Haslam, with Corser similarly showing well in fifth and seventh, and a productive two-day test at Misano – scene of the following meeting on the 2011 WSBK calendar – has left the pair bullish about their prospects heading Stateside.
“Salt Lake City is always a great race,” enthused Haslam, who broke his toe in an accident in the second outing at Monza. “It is fantastic to ride in the USA, particularly on 'Memorial Weekend' when there is a magnificent atmosphere there. The circuit itself is quite different, and the layout offers a good mixture of everything. It is a circuit on which you have to fight, and it is really difficult to ride. I enjoy going there, and am pretty excited to ride the BMW S1000RR there.
“The test at Misano was good, and we were able to work through an extensive programme. We also found a good set-up for the track there. We were right up there at the front in terms of lap times, particularly on the race tyres. In general, we got an awful lot done. My broken toe is fine again; we had a few days off that I spent with training, and it all will be fine in the US.”
“I hope that on the back of two solid results at Monza, we can really push and go for the podium in Salt Lake City,” concurred two-time World Superbike Champion Corser, absent from the rostrum since Misano last season. “Last year, we had a few minor issues there, which held us back slightly – but now the bike feels a lot more balanced, and I am hopeful we can do better this time around.
“I enjoy riding at this circuit. It is quite technical and fast and similar to Assen and Monza in some respects, so for sure I am looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do.”
Haslam and Corser currently sit respectively sixth and eleventh in the WSBK riders' standings, with the factory BMW outfit fourth in the constructors' title chase. With engine performance, mechanical grip and strong handling all of paramount importance around the modern, 4.907-kilometre, high-altitude Miller Motorsports Park close to Salt Lake City in Utah, BMW Motorrad motorsport director Bernhard Gobmeier admits he is hopeful the recent hard work and forthcoming updates pay dividends.
“Salt Lake City is an interesting circuit,” he confirmed. “We ride at a high altitude there. That is a good thing for us, as our BMW S1000RR has more performance than other bikes – the altitude should not have a particularly negative effect on our bikes.
“Also, we have carried out a lot of work on the chassis in the meantime. We had a very promising test at Misano, at which we worked our way through an extensive programme. As a result, we are travelling to the USA full of confidence.”