Two weeks after the finale of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship in Magny-Cours (FRA), Marco Melandri has already been back on his bike. The Italian BMW factory rider set off on a short tour of Germany this weekend. His destinations: Munich and Hockenheim. On Saturday, Marco visited BMW’s “Prototype Mechanical Machining” department in Munich before being one of the top guests at the celebrations to mark the anniversary of BMW Welt in Munich. On Sunday, he took to the track at the Hockenheimring to put on a show for the DTM, completing a demonstration lap on the BMW S 1000 RR, with which he claimed six victories in this season’s Superbike World Championship – more than any other rider.
At BMW in Munich the preparation work for the next FIM Superbike World Championship season is up and running. The “Prototype Mechanical Machining” department manufactures base engine components for motorsport and development – for example the cylinder heads and camshafts for the RR Marco races in the Superbike World Championship. During his visit, Marco was shown the manufacturing processes such as the grinding and coating process of the camshafts and the milling process for inlet and exhaust ports of the cylinder head. He had intense technical discussions with the staff, showed a lot of interest in the wider product range of the department and took a lot of time for autographs and photos with the BMW employees, who contribute their part to the Superbike project behind the scenes at the factory.
In the afternoon, Marco’s next stop was the BMW Welt, one of the most popular landmarks in Bavaria with 2.5 million visitors per year. The facility is celebrating its fifth birthday this year. In time for the anniversary, all the brands and sub-brands of the BMW Group, including BMW Motorrad, have now been integrated into BMW Welt: they will have their own experience areas in the future. To mark the fifth anniversary and the arrival of the BMW Group brands, BMW Welt invited all interested parties to a big experience weekend. Marco was among the star guests from the field of motorsport. He presented the production version of the BMW S 1000 RR, gave interviews on the show stage, and signed countless autographs.
From Munich, Marco headed to Hockenheim for the finale of the 2012 DTM season. Once there, he met up with his colleagues on four wheels, the BMW DTM drivers, and answered fans’ questions in the BMW Experience World. Before the start of the race, he thrilled visitors to the Hockenheimring with a lap on his RR, giving them a taste of how exciting motorcycle racing can be. On the grid he exchanged helmets with pole-setter Augusto Farfus (BRA). After that Marco slipped into the role of spectator and had his fingers firmly crossed for his fellow BMW competitors in the crucial and exciting final race of the season, and particularly for newly crowned DTM champion Bruno Spengler (CAN).
“My visit to the BMW factory in Munich was very interesting,” said Marco. “It is always nice to meet the people who work for you behind the scenes. I also think it is good that they now know me personally. They know what I do, but so far have seen me only on TV. So it was a great visit and I enjoyed the time together with the staff very much. It was also nice to be part of the celebrations at the BMW Welt. It is great to see all the BMW brands under one roof and I was proud to represent BMW Motorrad there.”
“Then we went to Hockenheim. It was my first ever visit to a DTM race,” Marco continued. “The impressions were overwhelming. The paddock is crazy with so many fans and the hospitality units are like real buildings, not like the ones we are used to. I did not expect something like that, so it was very impressive. My lap on the RR was good fun because for the first time I did not have to push and race under pressure, but could take the time to see the crowd, which was really huge in Hockenheim. I tried to give them some fun doing wheelies and burnouts. I enjoyed it a lot. The race was exciting and it was great to see BMW win it and the titles. Congratulations to Bruno and the whole BMW Motorsport team. Coming back to DTM they really had a great season.”