25 February 2010
WSBK 2010 Preview - BMW
Crash.net looks ahead to the opening round of the 2010 World Superbike Championship this week by discussing the chances of each manufacturer - next, BMW...
BMW's World Superbike debut went mostly to plan last year.
There was no underestimating the challenge the German manufacturer faced in its first season of international Superbike racing, but they coped admirably well, showing solid progress through the year, while they even managed to avoid the wooden spoon in the constructor standings.
For 2010, however, BMW will be expected to make a substantial step forward up the order, particularly given its resources and winning reputation in other forms of motorsport.
The ingredients are certainly there – beyond the experienced rider power of Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus, BMW courted plenty of headlines over the winter with the acquisition of Davide Tardozzi, the man that masterminded Ducati's success in World Superbikes.
A bold move, one that shows how serious they are about achieving success at this level, BMW are targeting podiums, maybe even wins, in 2010.
There is certainly potential in the S1000RR, with both Corser and Xaus lauding the bike's progress since the beginning of last year. Even so, its form in testing hasn't been quite so positive, the gap between itself and the leaders stagnating at a time when it should be making its presence felt in and around the top five, not just the top ten.
Corser has already said he wants to win one more world title before he retires – while it isn't likely to come this year, he needs to use this season as a platform for a 2011 push.
As well as the factory operation, there will also be the welcome addition of another BMW team in 2010, with the newly formed Reitwagen Racing taking on satellite duties for the manufacturer.
A slightly mysterious operation, while Reitwagen chose to avoid the public eye ahead of its debut during testing over the weekend, the involvement of Peter Goddard suggests the right things are happening behind the scenes.
Even so, the choice of riders has raised eyebrows, with former race winner Andrew Pitt saving his career from potential Supersport obscurity by returning to Superbikes for the first time in four years. He will be joined by Roland Resch, who spent the majority of the 2009 season at the back of the grid on an ageing Suzuki.
With the bike seemingly devoid of obvious sponsorship, Reitwagen pose more questions than answers at this moment, but their presence on the grid is certainly a positive thing at a time when too many teams are falling by the wayside.
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