Although Scott Redding got a 5th place in the second main race in Assen for BMW’s best result so far in the Superbike World Championship 2022, the gap to the leaders was large.
Michael van der Mark’s injury in preparation for the 2022 season hit BMW hard, podiums were far away at the first two rallies in Aragon and Assen. Scott Redding lost 14.6 seconds in the second main race on the TT track in the Netherlands to the winner Alvaro Bautista (Ducati), the Englishman’s fifth place marks BMW’s best result this year. Without the clash of leaders Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) it would have been 7th place.
It’s obvious that the 12-time race winner Redding is not yet on par with the inline four-cylinder BMW M1000RR. “I have my opinions and ideas, but they go a little against their concept,” remarked Scott, who has been driving a Ducati V4 for the past three years. “What I want and feel is different from what they think is right. It’s not a bad thing, it’s not about right or wrong. This is their project and they know what they want. But you also have to trust me when I tell you my impressions. Sometimes you can not just trust computers. Computers are very good, they give you lots of data, lots of information. But the computer does not sit on the bike and turn the throttle. “
If a rider changes manufacturer, both sides are always involved: the athlete has to adapt to the new motorcycle and the team tries to accommodate his wishes as much as possible.
“It was already clear during the winter tests, and also in Aragon, which was not a good weekend at all, that everyone who comes to BMW needs some time to adjust,” said BMW Motorsport Director Marc Bongers in Four-Eye Talk to SPEEDWEEK.com. “Of course a motorcycle has its own DNA and ours is different from what he is used to. But that does not mean we can just install a V4. The motorcycles are simply different in character. I would not say that after a “few tests can already indicate a direction of development. Of course we respond to his needs, but it only goes one step within the framework of the rules and the cycle’s DNA.”
“We really missed Michael as a reference driver after the first winter test,” the 51-year-old added. “At Aragon, we saw that the bike was capable of more than what Scott was capable of pulling off at the time. It’s not an accusation, it’s an opinion. Of course, there is more to the motorcycle than that. But it is also clear that the bike is not here at the moment, that we can win races or keep getting podiums.We have approaches in development to solve problems that he is struggling with.Scott can not get the most out of it yet “But it looked much better in Assen than in Aragon. Now we have approaches to build on instead of being completely helpless.”
Redding’s statement that BMW relies too much on the data from the computers instead of the drivers’ statements gives Bongers food for thought. “It’s really hard to answer,” said the Dutchman. “Of course we listen to the drivers; one has to hear from the driver and perceive what he can do with the motorcycle, what works well and what he can not. From the things he can not, you must draw conclusions about what you want to change. But how will you do it? That’s why you pick up the comments and then look at the technology. For that is the only way you can find a solution or a direction. There are also riders who say they think it has to be harder, longer, stiffer here or there. I certainly do not believe that. But we listen very carefully to what motorists say, what they need to drive faster. For only those who can judge it. But how you do it comes from the computer. “
Bongers concludes: “If a driver, for example, complains about the nature of the engine, then as an engineer or development team you have to find approaches in the background. You need to understand what he means by expressing his feelings. For example, is the torque curve too steep? And then you still have the reference to what you have in the motorcycle at the moment. From there, see if you give 5 or 10 percent more – you can not get around the computer. There are riders who prefer to add other components from other manufacturers to the bike because they had a better feeling with them in the past. But it’s not development, it’s hobby racing. “