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SBK, BMW: winning in Superbike as a prelude to arriving in MotoGP

The Munich manufacturer continues its relaunch: after changing its technical director, creating a MotoGP-style test team with Smith and Guintoli, it has now announced Blusch as head of the Motorrad Motorsport sector. Will he be the right man to steer BMW into MotoGP?

SBK: BMW: winning in Superbike as a prelude to arriving in MotoGP

It was 2018 when BMW announced its official entry into the Superbike World Championship for the 2019 season. A new project, created at the last moment, so much so that it pulled out all the stops ahead of the pre-set deadlines, considering that the initial plan was to start from the 2020 Championship.

The fact is that in the first four years BMW saw its expectations partly disappointed, considering that the only victory came from Michael van der Mark during the Superpole Race in Portimao in the wet. Although expectations were very different, the Munich brand never thought of throwing in the towel prematurely. Indeed, it has relaunched in a big way, given that 2023 can be considered in all respects as the turning point year.

Marco Bongers, head of BMW Motorrad Motorsport, has in fact entrusted Chris Gonschor with the role of technical director of the Superbike project, furthermore the synergy between the car and motorcycle sectors of Berlin and Munich has been strengthened in the exchange of information and data research. As if that weren't enough, to speed up the development project of the M 1000 RR, given the arrival of a champion like Toprak Razgatlioglu, a MotoGP-style test team was even created with Sylvain Guintoli and Bradley Smith.

BMW's intention is therefore clear, namely to win the Superbike World Championship in 2025. Apparently all the ingredients seem to be in place, because in the paddock of the production-based championship no manufacturer is showing a similar commitment in economic terms and resources towards Superbike as the German one.

The world of production-based bikes therefore represents the priority for the Munich manufacturer, which just yesterday announced Sven Blusch as the new head of BMW Motorrad Motorsport in place of Marc Bongers, whose task will be aimed exclusively at Superbike and World Endurance starting from 1 June.

Given that BMW's commitment on a factory level is dedicated solely and exclusively to World SBK and Endurance, this appointment of Blusch leaves some questions open. It certainly isn't a desire to show Bongers the door, given that in recent seasons the director has been the architect of the company’s relaunch in Superbike and we are convinced that he will soon celebrate his first successes.

The announcement of Blusch reads: "As the new head of BMW Motorrad Motorsport Sven Blusch will focus on the strategic realignment and enhance the solid base for successful motorsport in the future.” The key word is undoubtedly future. Yes, but which one? Superbike represents the challenge of the present and it would not be surprising if in a few years BMW accepted a new challenge, one called MotoGP.

Winning in Superbike would in fact be the best business card to move budgets and convince the company's top management to invest in MotoGP. From what I have seen over the last year, BMW has sent a clear and transparent signal regarding its strength and desire to establish itself in production-based racing. With MotoGP orphaned by Suzuki, we are of the idea that Carmelo Ezpeleta would welcome the German manufacturer with open arms in view of the 2027 season which will see a change in the regulations with the aim of having more manufacturers at the starting line.

On the regulation front, very little is known for now: the only news that has leaked concerns the transition to an 850cc displacement with less powerful engines and less invasive aerodynamics. Obviously, to face a challenge like that of MotoGP you need a defined program drawn up well in advance so as not to be caught unprepared.

BMW is certainly not lacking the financial means and resources to take on such a challenge. Guintoli and Smith have all the knowledge needed for technical development, furthermore the synergy between the car and motorcycle sectors bore its first fruits over the winter. Now that Blusch is arriving, the question arises spontaneously: will he be the right man to steer the German manufacturer into MotoGP?

But first they need to win in Superbike, which is the perfect springboard for arriving in MotoGP.

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