After proving himself adept on the new 2021 M1000RR all through the Catalunya WorldSBK test, Tom Sykes ended up a more than respectable sixth fastest overall.
He was not, however, the fastest rider on the new M - which comes complete with winglets and a faster engine than in 2021 - as a late, charging lap by semi-supported Jonas Folger (Bonovo Action team BMW) took him to fourth place overall.
Sykes, still looking at it being early stages on the latest BWM, was still happy enough with progress so far. “Good - challenging because we still have a lot fo work to do,” was his instant summation of his test. “We were very lucky that we had the open pit lane.
“We were able to do a lot of work, pit-in/pit-out, and a lot of small things just to have a look at. So, really good, A strong showing from BMW, especially Jonas there at the end. We will have a look at this information and it is all good for the whole BMW project and the new M1000RR.”
Corner entry was one area where some riders have complained about the BMW’s of the past. Even though Sykes has not ben as vocal it is one area of improvement he is looking for. “There are some restrictions, and I do have some complaints on the corner entry,” said Sykes.
We are here, and I try my best to ride around some limitations, but for sure I would like to improve in this area. And a couple of other areas. We just need more time because we are still quite early. The M1000RR is still quite new so we just need time to put it all together. The good thing is that the engine is a good step forward, and a few things. Time is of the essence.”
Sykes was unsure if Folger was on completely the same bike as he was but he knows Folger has some good kit despite not being in the official factory team alongside Michael van Der Mark and Sykes.
“Jonas has already got hold of some top parts, let us say, at the previous test in Jerez and here. But maybe a slight difference. In terms of swingarm and engine I think he has tried what we have done. He is getting very good technical support and it is good because he is obviously riding well.”
The question for all riding any new or heavily revamped bike at this stage of pre-season is are we ready yet? Not quite, thinks Sykes. “It is hard to know because it depends what time of day you are out on track the lap times are different. We had some days in Jerez testing and there I was very, very confident in our results.
“Here, we have been working away with our development alongside some top manufacturers that are putting together some good lap times. So here you will never see the true picture, so it is difficult for me to say.”