As part of its preparations for the forthcoming Superstock FIM 1000 Cup, which begins on April 17 at Assen in The Netherlands, the BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock team decided to enter the SSTK support race at the opening round of the CIV Italian Superbike Championship at Misano.
It was an encouraging competitive debut for the team in the race held in Misano Adriatico on April 10, not only because both riders finished on the podium, but also because they gathered vital experience and set-up information for when they return to the Misano World Circuit in mid-June for the corresponding WSBK round there.
Team riders Sylvain Barrier and Lorenzo Zanetti had qualified their BMW S 1000 RR machines on the first and second row of the grid, in second and fifth place respectively. Frenchman Barrier made a poor start but soon recovered and battled his way back to the front of the pack to eventually claim second place behind winner Danilo Petrucci, with whom he will race against throughout 2011 in the Superstock FIM 1000 Cup.
Barrier's Italian team-mate Lorenzo Zanetti, meanwhile, rounded off the podium with a well deserved third place, only a quarter of a second behind his team-mate. Interestingly, BMW riders also finished in the next two spots, with Ivan Clementi in fourth and Michele Magnoni in fifth - making it four BMW RR machines in the top five.
Serafino Foti, Sports Director of the BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock Team was encouraged by this promising outing at Misano: "Congratulations to Danilo Petrucci, who was impossible to beat on his Ducati today, although things could have been different if our boys had made better starts... Still, it was a good experience for us to compete here as we've learnt lots, and managed to avoid any major problems or injuries just before our main priority for the season begins at Assen. Lorenzo Zanetti used his tyres up and struggled with grip towards the end of the Misano race, while it was encouraging to see Sylvain make a strong comeback after such a poor start. There are many learning points, but for us the championship that really counts begins this weekend at Assen."
Having won the 2010 Superstock 1000 FIM Cup with Ayrton Badovini, it will be hard to repeat what was a near-perfect season for the BMW Motorrad Italia team, who enjoyed almost total domination of the series, with nine wins out of ten on the RR. This year, the entry list for the class shows that it is as popular as ever with a wide range of riders and teams, on a variety of machinery.
There are 29 riders on the provisional entry list for Assen, with BMW, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha represented on the grid this year. Showing the championship's truly international status, no fewer than 12 countries will be represented, with competitors from Hungary, Italy, France, Poland, Switzerland, Romania, Netherlands, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Slovakia and Argentina all hoping for championship glory.
Both Barrier and Zanetti scored two podiums each in last year's Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, now they are riding for the BMW Motorrad Italia team, they will be hoping to emulate Ayrton Badovini's success on the RR. Whatever happens, the drama in this ten-round championship is always legendary, so don't miss their first Superstock 1000 FIM Cup race of the year, which begins at 10.30 (CET) and is also the opening race in Sunday's action-packed WSBK programme.