24H SPA EWC Motos: BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team extra motivated ahead of FIM EWC home round.
Spa-Francorchamps. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team is returning to the scene of its greatest success to date. This weekend, the 24H SPA EWC Motos (BEL) forms round two of the FIM Endurance World Championship 2023 (FIM EWC). Last year, the team and its riders Markus Reiterberger (GER), Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) and Jérémy Guarnoni (FRA) claimed a historic victory in the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps. The success at the team’s home event was not only the first win in a 24-hour race for Werner Daemen’s (BEL) outfit, but also the first time a European manufacturer had won over this distance for several decades. All set for its first appearance at the event is the Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team. They start in the Superstock class of the FIM EWC and are making their debut on the Ardennes rollercoaster at Spa-Francorchamps.
This season, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team is running the new version of the BMW M 1000 RR. The three regular riders – Reiterberger, Mikhalchik and Guarnoni – immediately finished on the podium in the first race with the new bike when the trio came home third on the #37 M RR at the opening round of the 2023 season, the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) in mid-April. The team is now extremely motivated ahead of the second race of the season at the iconic racetrack, which is just a one-hour drive from the Belgian team’s base. The fourth rider at Spa-Francorchamps is Vincent Lonbois (BEL). Over the course of his career, the 32-year-old has spent many years riding BMW motorcycles at racetracks and on the road racing scene. In 2016, he was crowned champion in the International Road Racing Championship (IRRC) with the BMW S 1000 RR. He also finished runner-up in the BMW Motorrad Race Trophy in the same year.
The new Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team, in which the French Tecmas Racing Team and its owner Arnaud Sassone (FRA) is collaborating with Werner Daemen’s company Motorcycle Racing Parts and BMW Motorrad Motorsport, made a dream start to its debut season in the FIM EWC at Le Mans. Kenny Foray (FRA), Jan Bühn (GER) and Loïc Arbel (FRA) took victory in the Superstock class with the #9 BMW M 1000 RR. The team is now entering uncharted territory at Spa-Francorchamps. Although the Tecmas Racing Team has contested individual races in the FIM EWC in the past, it did not start the 24H SPA EWC Motos last year.
The race weekend at Spa-Francorchamps begins with free practice on Friday morning. The grid positions will then be determined in the two-part qualifying on Friday afternoon. The race itself gets underway on Saturday at 14:00 (CEST). As well as the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and the Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team, private BMW outfit Team LRP Poland also competes at the 24H SPA EWC Motos.
Quotes ahead of the 24H SPA EWC Motos.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “It goes without saying that last year’s fantastic victory remains a memorable one. We are now back in the Ardennes to face this special challenge again. We have shown that we can be successful at the home circuit for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, and are obviously hoping for a similar result this year. The current season got off to a successful start with the new BMW M 1000 RR at Le Mans, with third place overall for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and the debut victory in the Superstock class for the Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team. We now travel to Spa-Francorchamps well prepared. The law of any 24-hour race obviously also applies here – namely that anything can happen. However, as far as the riders, teams and machinery are concerned, we are well prepared and very confident ahead of the weekend.“
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “We are expecting a hot week at Spa–Francorchamps. The weather forecast is perfect. Last week, we had a successful pre-test. I was a little bit worried about the weather but the new BMW M 1000 RR also looks very good in hot conditions this year. So I think that we are well prepared for defending our good result from last year and hopefully we also have the necessary luck.”
Markus Reiterberger: “Spa-Francorchamps is the home event for our team, and it is practically the home race for us too. Spa is a really great racetrack, and we have very fond memories of the circuit after last year’s victory. We completed a two-day function test there at a hobby event, during which we gained our first impressions of the new bike at this track. We now continue with the final tests, in which we will work on the fine-tuning. As a team, I believe we are better positioned than ever. We are ready. We want to at least finish on the podium, but would obviously prefer to win. That is the goal we have set ourselves. The weather forecast is good, the team is super. There is nothing to stop us being successful, and we will do everything we can to make that the case.”
Ilya Mikhalchik: “I am looking forward to a great race weekend at Spa on a beautiful track. I can’t wait to get back there with our new beautiful bike. Let’s hope for a good weekend and to enjoy riding our BMW M 1000 RR there. We want to show good speed over the entire weekend and to do a good job during the race. It would be great to finish the race on Sunday with a strong result.”
Jérémy Guarnoni: “The target for Spa is clear; like always, we want to win. We know that it is a track we are really fast on. Last year we won there, so obviously the goal is to repeat that. That would be really amazing. It is also a special race for us because it is the team’s home race. This gives us an extra motivation. We know that in dry conditions, we are really fast there so let’s see what will happen. I am confident. At the pre–test, we saw that all is okay. Everything is on point so let’s see.”
Arnaud Sassone, Team Owner Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team: “We arrive at Spa-Francorchamps as the championship leader and with an advantage of eleven points. That is perfect, but it does put us under extra pressure, which we must manage. This race at Spa is a first for my team of technicians, but we have worked hard and listened to our riders in order to be well prepared. BMW Motorrad has been successful at Spa in the past, with the overall victory for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team last year. Our three Tecmas riders, led by their leader Kenny Foray, are a well-oiled team, which is both fast and capable of providing the engineers with precise information. They are also in great form and very motivated. All three of them are very familiar with the track in the Ardennes. Kenny took part in qualifying with the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team in 2022, while Loïc Arbel finished runner-up in the overall standings on the Tati Team’s Kawasaki. And Jan Bühn has been a regular at the Spa circuit for years.”