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Mar 18, 2012

Team BMW Motorrad France Preparing For 2012 FIM Endurance World Championship

Damian Cudlin (99) on the Team BMW Motorrad France S1000RR.
Eupen, Belgium - Having recently concluded successful tests at Almeria and Mugello, BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent are confident of a strong start to the 2012 Endurance World Championship, which gets underway with the Bol d'Or at Magny-Cours in just one month's time.

A close second in last year's championship, the team have been busy since the final round of the 2011 season in Qatar. Over the winter the team have moved into a newly equipped workshop in Eupen, Belgium, where the BMW S1000RR machines they'll campaign in 2012 were prepared ready for pre-season testing.

Changes have also been made in the pit box, with additional technical staff drafted in to the team to further improve the meticulous machine preparation and to assist with race strategy planning, both of which are critical to success in the Endurance World Championship, the toughest test of any bike and team.

BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent contested the 2011 Endurance World Championship with arguably the strongest rider line up on the grid. The line up will remain unchanged for the 2012 season, with Sébastien Gimbert, Erwan Nigon, Damian Cudlin and Hugo Marchand reunited once again aboard the #99 BMW S1000RR.

After losing out on the championship title by just four points in 2011, following a collision at the final round, all four BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent riders are determined to go one better this time around, with a first 24-hour race win also featuring highly on their list of goals for the coming season.

The next outing for BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent will be at the two-day pre-Bol d'Or test at Magny-Cours, starting on 22nd March. The team will return to the Circuit de Nevers just a few weeks later for the opening round of the 2012 Endurance World Championship, which takes place over the weekend of the 14th and 15th April.

Sébastien Gimbert:
"Last year we started with no preseason testing, but this season we will start with five very successful test days under our belt. We will also start the season with a better bike; the 2012 BMW S1000RR is an improvement over last year's model in a number of areas, especially the chassis and the electronics. All four riders are fast, within a few tenths of each other, and there aren't many teams in the championship that can say that. We all want to win the championship this season. Of course, a win at the Bol d'Or or Le Mans would be fantastic, but the championship is our main goal. To finish the year as champions would be a fantastic present to give to BMW, to Michelin and to everyone else who has supported us as we chase the ultimate prize in the Endurance World Championship."

Erwan Nigon:
"The Mugello test was an important one for me, as it was my first outing on the 2012 BMW S1000RR we'll race in the Endurance World Championship this season. My first impression of the new bike was very positive, but I definitely need more laps under my belt to get a good feeling for all the improvements that BMW have made to the bike. I enjoyed riding the bike and I'm looking forward to riding it again at the pre-Bol d'Or test. Going into this season the objective is to win, every time. But the racing is the racing and you can't predict everything and, with every hour, the philosophy of the race it changes. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't, but always you must push for the points if you want to be world champions at the end of the season. And that is what we will do."

Damian Cudlin:
"A productive two days of testing at Mugello means we go into next week's pre-Bold d'Or test with a good base set-up on the 2012 BMW S1000RR. This means we'll be able to focus on refining the set-up at Magny-Cours, rather than having to make big changes to the bike. There's no doubt that we're going into this season not just hoping to win, but expecting to win. We've got the best bike, even better than last year, the best tyres, the best suspension and four really strong riders. Last year we were relatively new to the championship and simply didn't have the experience of some of the more established teams, but it's different now. The new guys who arrived this season have strengthened what was already a strong team, bringing with them experience that we may have been lacking in the past. I think only bad luck can stop us winning this season."

Hugo Marchand:
"I'm happy with what we achieved at the Mugello test. It was a good two days aboard the BMW S1000RR and my lap times were similar to those of Sébastien, Erwan and Damian. The 2012 BMW S1000RR is also improved compared to last year's bike, which was already very competitive, so we're definitely moving in the right direction. I'm looking forward to starting the season at Magny-Cours and I hope that, this year, I will get the chance to ride as part of the team in one of the big 24-hour races. I'm ready!"

Michael Bartholemy: Team Manager
"We have been incredibly busy since returning from Qatar at the end of last season. We have moved into a new workshop, which has proved ideal for preparing the 2012 BMW S1000RR machines we'll race in both the Endurance World Championship and the French Superbike Championship. We've also increased our technical capabilities with new people, all of whom share our desire to win this season. We have kept the same four riders for this season, not just for consistency but also because, together, they are the strongest line up in the championship. As a result we go into the new season determined to fight once again for the title, but we don't expect it to be easy against such strong competition. We obviously want a good result at the Bol d'Or to kick off the season, but we're aware of just how many things can go wrong over the course of a 24-hour race. Just one bit of bad luck could mean playing catch up for the remainder of the season, which is something we definitely want to avoid. We will be pushing to take our first 24-hour race win, but not at the expense of our championship campaign. I'm looking forward to the season ahead and I'm confident that the combination of the team, the BMW S1000RR and four strong riders will allow us to fight for the title once again."

Marcel Driessen: Director, BMW Motorrad France
"I'm quite anxious to get the season started, as the winter has been long and it's been quite a challenge for us to put together the budget we need to build on our second place in the championship last season. We lost out by just 30 seconds last year, but this season I think we've put together an even more competitive package. We already have one of the fastest rider line ups in the championship and I think that the work put in by Michael Bartholemy and the team over the winter means we go into this season stronger than ever. For BMW this is an important championship and the level of direct technical support we've received from company headquarters in Munich has been outstanding. The preseason tests with the 2012 BMW S1000RR have been very promising, with all four riders impressed with the new bike, which is why I'm looking forward to the year ahead with confidence."