BMW in 2003 MotoGP! Sort Of...

John P Burns
by John P Burns
No, contrary to persistent rumors, they will not chop three cylinders from their F1 V10 to challenge Honda for the championship (at least not this year - could happen in 2004 or ?05). However, they will play a prominent role -- beginning with the official tests to be held at Catalunya on March 15-16.

BMW have announced the BMW Award for the 2003 MotoGP Best Qualifier. The prize for this new award is a top-of -the-range BMW automobile, which will be awarded at the end of the season to the rider with the lowest total qualifying time for the season (that is, the sum of the qualifying times for each race).

In addition, there will be a special award of a BMW 330 Cd given for the fastest time in a special 1-hour internationally televised session during the official test at Catalunya on Sunday, March 16. Times from this test will count toward the season qualifier championship.

BWM have been prominent sponsors of MotoGP events - at many circuits, the BMW Rondel appears prominently in the helicopter shots - however this signals a higher profile role. In recent interviews, BWM executives have stated that there is a big crossover between MotoGP fans and prospective customers of BMW autos - much more so than with BWM cycles.

Another interesting observation is that the idea of prominently televising a qualifying session (or in this case, actually a test session) looks like something borrowed from World SuperBikes, where SuperPole is a popular and prominent feature (unfortunately, the television feed is generally not aired by SpeedTV). It is not know if SpeedTV will air the March 16 session.

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