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Australia/Phillip Island - Preview
Munich/Stephanskirchen, 18 February 2011.
The time for full throttle is nigh: The 2011 season opener of the FIM Superbike World Championship takes place on the last weekend of February (25 to 27 February) at Phillip Island (AUS). Beforehand teams will prepare for the season with an official test session at the same venue on 21/22 February. The Phillip Island Circuit, situated 120 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, sees the Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport take on the opposition for the first time this season.
Double World Superbike Champion Troy Corser (AUS) starts his third season for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport on home soil at Phillip Island. His new team-mate is the reigning vice-champion, Leon Haslam (GBR). Both have tested the further developed BMW S 1000 RR at the Australian Eastern Creek and Phillip Island circuits this year, completing a total of 2 543 kilometres.
The tests proved that the extensive development programme carried out over the winter by the team at its bases in Stephanskirchen and Munich has borne fruit. Troy and Leon are confident of good results.
During the winter the management structure of BMW Motorrad Motorsport was further optimised, with Bernhard Gobmeier being appointed Motorsport Director. Rainer Bäumel took up the newly created post of Head of Race Operations, while the new Head of Development is Stephan Fischer. Josef Hoffmann manages the Stephanskirchen base.
The team, which achieved its first pole position and two podium placings in 2010, has an ambitious target for its third season in the FIM Superbike World Championship: to take race victories during 2011.
“I am pleased that it is starting again. Following our last test in Europe I spent Christmas and New Year with my family in Great Britain. Then I travelled directly to Australia in order to prepare myself mentally and physically for the winter tests and for Phillip Island. I have trained virtually every day, but rounds of golf with friends and touring with the production version of the BMW S 1000 RR were also on the agenda. Thus I was well prepared for the winter tests, which left me extremely satisfied.
Phillip Island remains my home race. Many of my relatives, friends, sponsors and fans come to the race especially to see me. For them it is the only opportunity to see me live in action. It is the race I most look forward to, and definitely aim to win.
I believe Phillip Island is one of the best circuits on the calendar as its layout is unique. It flows beautifully, and it is great fun to race there. It is a very safe layout which always delivers tight and thrilling races. Last year we managed to score some of our best results of the whole season here. I hope we can better those this time.”
“Winter is always a drawn out season for racers, and so we are really looking forward to Australia. Phillip Island is one of my favourite circuits. I have been in Australia since January. After the winter tests, my trainer and I worked intensively on my fitness in the vicinity of Brisbane. Two weeks of training in hot weather – absolutely ideal as a means of preparing for the race week.
After the winter tests I am convinced that we will be competitive from the first race. We have every reason to be confident, not only about Australia, but the entire season. We will see where we need to improve ourselves in comparison with our competitors; however, from a speed perspective we are competitive. Thus at Phillip Island the most important thing will be to be consistent from the first session to the last lap of the race. If we manage that we should be able to post good results.
It is great to be part of the BMW Motorrad Motorsport project. My target is clear: I must win. That is also the aim of the team. I am sure BMW Motorrad will do everything possible to achieve that.”
Bernhard Gobmeier, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:
“We head for the first race weekend of the season filled with excitement and anticipation. The team has a new structure for its third season: We have a new rider, and we have strengthened ourselves technically and on the personnel side. We are better prepared than before; the entire team has worked extremely hard over the past few months. Last year we were able to score two podium positions. Our ambitious target for 2011 is to post race wins.
In Australia last year Troy was able to place in the top ten in both races. We hope that we also have a good start to our third season.”
The Phillip Island Circuit is situated on the eponymous island found approximately 120 kilometres south-east of Melbourne in Australia’s Victoria state. The island is connected to the mainland via a 600 metre bridge. The circuit was constructed overlooking the sea in 1956, but has been re-profiled many times since. With the exception of 1993, the FIM Superbike World Championship has been a regular visitor to Phillip Island since 1990. The race has become the traditional season opener.
For BMW works rider, Troy Corser, Phillip Island marks not only his home circuit, but also a venue which holds many fond memories. In 1996 he celebrated his first Superbike world championship title here in front of his home crowd. With seven victories Troy heads the all-time winners list; in addition, he has held the lap record here since 2007. Team-mate Leon Haslam posted his first Superbike pole position and overall victory here last year.
Amongst the circuit’s many unique characteristics are its big elevation changes and coastal winds. The last corner, taken in fourth gear, is particularly crucial for a fast lap as riders need to concentrate on minimising wheelspin in order to carry maximum speed down the Gardner Straight. Another key point is Doohan Corner, which rewards an ideal line with a perfect approach to the challenging Southern Loop. Thereafter the Bass Strait takes the field downhill to “Honda”, the first and most critical hairpin on the circuit.