Peter Hickman knows a thing or two about BMW’s S 1000 RR, having raced and won the very prestigious IOM TT last year on the Smiths Racing BMW, and smashing the outright Mountain Course lap record along the way.
He’s also pretty darn good on the short circuits too was the fastest BMW rider in British Superbike, and is known as a rider that can give good feedback and input back to the team. That, in my opinion, is why BMW gave him the opportunity to try out the 2019 BMW S 1000 RR as early as last year. When Hicky speaks, people listen, and that’s why we wanted to hear his thoughts on the new 2019 S 1000 RR.
Peter Hickman Interview
Steve Martin: Firstly, the 2018 model was a pretty impressive machine and one you’ve had great success on, but nothing’s perfect, what do you think its weak points were?
Peter Hickman: “Like you say everything has its weak points. The BMW has always been strong in a straight line, both with engine power and on the brakes.
“For me its weak point was always the chassis, it was very rigid, so the slightest of changes to either the chassis, air/track temperature, or even tyres made big differences to the bike. This made it hard to get set up. It was also a bike that never finished the corners so well.”
Steve: You’ve cut some laps now on the new road bike, what’s your initial impression
Peter Hickman: “I rode a pre-production model last year and I loved it. Coming to Estoril has just cemented that feeling for me really. The bike is so easy to ride for a start, yet has more power and BMW have engineered more flex into the chassis, so overall, it’s everything I was asking for!”
Steve: The two bikes look completely different but what about the feel, what’s the biggest difference between the two.
Peter Hickman: “Where to start? It still feels like a BMW, which I think is great. Ergonomically it’s very different however, you sit in the bike more than the old S 1000 RR. I’m a tall rider and the bike is very small, but even with these two facts I fit on the bike no problem.
“This bike gives a very positive feeling for me, when I ask it to do something it does it. As a racer riding ‘normal’ road bike this was very impressive, they usually feel all soft and sloppy, I didn’t get that feeling from the new RR.”
Steve: Has the 2019 given riders and teams more scope to cut lap times especially in a more standard guise.
Peter Hickman: “Absolutely it has, especially as a road or superstock race bike. I really think with what BMW have brought to the table it’s going to take all racing to another level.”
Steve: I’ve heard from inside BMW that on the same day, same tyres, same rider, the new bike’s about a second quicker in street trim what do you think?
Peter Hickman: “Interesting you should ask, because I was the rider who did this test! Ha! It was at Cartagena last year, Pirelli slicks on both bikes. I managed a 1m38.8sec lap on the 2018 S 1000 RR, I did a five-lap run, came into the pits and jumped straight onto the new bike without talking to anyone and did the same five-lap run.
“When I came back in they asked me what I thought, I felt that the new bike was easier to ride but I wasn’t sure there would be a major difference in lap times. Turns out I did a 1m37.4 on the new bike! Which is a huge difference! And to put that into perspective the best time I’ve done on my 2018 Superbike last year was a low 1m33, so four seconds on a road bike is impressive!”
Steve: Electronics on the road RR were always good but how close is the latest system to the race versions”
Peter Hickman: “They’ve worked hard on this. They’ve made it much more adaptable like a race bike. For example, the traction control and anti-wheelie control run on separate systems now, which means you can have traction control out of the corner without hindering performance on the final part of the exit because it thinks it’s doing a wheelie when it isn’t.
“I need more laps to play more and understand but so far, I found it easy to use and really rider friendly, something most road bikes struggle with!”
Steve: Hicky thanks for your time, now go win some races.
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