BMW riders Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes had started Race 1 from first and second but were out of the race at Turn 1
Drama was abundant in Race 1 for the Pirelli French Round at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship kicked off its penultimate round of the 2020 season in stunning fashion. In wet conditions, Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had secured a sensational pole position; his first of the year and fourth of his career as teammate Tom Sykes lined up alongside him.
With the duo lining up with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on the front row, and in wet conditions for Race 1, it looked like BMW may have had its strongest result of the year. The hope, however, had gone by Turn 1 when both Laverty and Sykes were in the gravel at Turn 1 after Sykes was hit by American rookie Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team).
All three have reacted to the crash since, with Sykes saying: “I don’t know exactly what you want me to say about it, it was a bit of a thoughtless and reckless move really. The line was closed, I was looking for the cut back against Jonathan. I’m frustrated and quite angry that another rider puts me on the tarmac at Turn 1 in wet conditions in front of 15 to 20 other bikes. I still need time to settle down from that.”
Laverty, who had taken BMW’s second pole position of 2020, said: "I'm really angry with this crash because this is unforgiveable from Gerloff. To come into the first corner in a wet race like this with that angle, is not really a smart thing. He could've injured us badly and he still hasn't come and said sorry yet!”
Gerloff was able to continue after the Lap 1 incident and had been challenging for victory before he suffered his own crash seven laps into the 21-lap race, coming off his Yamaha machine at the Turn 6 and 7 Nürburgring chicane.
Discussing the Turn 1 crash, Gerloff said: “I felt like I got a really good start and I was closing in on everybody. They braked earlier than where I was going to brake. I braked where I went and found the inside line. To me, all I saw was Jonathan and myself; nobody else.”
You can follow the action throughout the rest of the Pirelli French Round using the WorldSBK VideoPass!