Milwaukee BMW boss Shaun Muir is hoping for close cooperation between his SMR squad and the Althea team as both make the move to BMW machinery for the 2016 World Superbike campaign.
Speaking to worldsbk.com, Muir says that while it may be surprising to some to hear him urging close links with his rivals, it’s in the best interests of both parties – even if the Italian squad doesn’t share his enthusiasm.
“You and I might not think it’s ridiculous. We put it forward to Althea. The good thing for me is that I have brought a couple of guys over with me who were previously working with Yamaha Germany. In terms of the development of the bike to get it into the right working window: BMW have some ideas from previous years and from Badovini last year but, as far as we are concerned, we put some ideas to Althea and they basically said, ‘Let’s just do our own thing and carry on as we are.’ We, effectively, are more than happy to carry on in our own direction.
“As development goes, I think we are more than capable of getting the bike into the right area – and with the right equipment on it – very quickly. Actually, we are probably ahead of where Althea are at the moment because of the fact that we have ordered everything immediately and have actually got our own in-house design guys working on manufacturing carbon equipment, all the bracketry and all the small intricate details that turn it into what is effectively a factory bike.
“The BMW people have been here to our factory, had a look at what we’ve done and have literally said, ‘Wow, you guys are well on your way here.’ For that reason, I am confident that we will be in a good position.”
Muir is also confident that the team will receive a level of support from the Bavarian factory on a similar level to that of the Althea squad – something that was key in the stretched-out contract negotiations going on behind the scenes after the end of the BSB season.
“If I’m perfectly honest with you, that has been one of the biggest aspects of getting the contract right. BMW is providing us with engines, electronics and engineering support. Obviously, in terms of engines, you have to seal them at the beginning of the year anyway. The rest of it, chassis-wise, is down to ourselves to develop. We have our own ideas on that front.
“There is probably no cast iron insurance about receiving the same treatment as Althea Racing but we have been told that, contractually, it is written down that we will have best or equal of the four riders that are supported in total: Torres, Reiterberger and my two guys. I’m sure the rest will become apparent, if we start the season and we have a big difference in straight-line speed.”