until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


A BMW MotoGP team is growing ever more likely

by Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

BMW will look into an entry into MotoGP as a prospective competitor, the new boss of its bike division BMW Motorrad, Markus Flasch, had admitted.

And Flasch's comments suggest there’s more than just idle speculation to what sources have told The Race in recent weeks about a potential BMW debut coinciding with the looming MotoGP rule changes in 2027 - with it even being rumoured that a deal has already been agreed with series bosses Dorna.

Speaking to German publication Motorrad, Flasch - the former head of BMW’s M Sport division who joined the two-wheeled department in Munich last November - made it quite clear that he is first and foremost "an absolute advocate of motorsport" and that he sees BMW’s future involvement as increasing in one way or another.

Already stepping up BMW's game in the Dorna-run World Superbike championship this year by securing the signature of 2021 champion Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and continuing its long association with MotoGP by providing the championship’s safety cars (and backing the BMW M Award for the season's best qualifier), Flasch has seemingly hinted at greater participation.

BMW MotoGP safety car

"It is, for me, indisputable that well-executed motorsport programmes make a genuine contribution to brand strength and enthusiasm within the community," he said.

“Therefore you can assume that we at BMW Motorrad will continue to strengthen our motorsport commitment."

Flasch acknowledged that "other possibilities" would be explored beyond WSBK and BMW's other current programmes in the Endurance World Championship and the German IDM series, and that there would be organisational changes - though insisted these aren't necessarily "in anticipation" of expanding to other categories.

And as for MotoGP specifically, he said: "BMW M has been for years the vehicle partner of MotoGP. As BMW M boss I have been to races, I know the people involved and we are a present brand there.

"But it has to make sense for us, that's clear, and that's why we are taking a detailed look at it.

"I would not rule it out."

Toprak Razgatlioglu, BMW, WSBK

According to some of The Race’s sources in the MotoGP paddock, that commitment might already be beyond the "won't rule it out" stage - with unconfirmed rumours suggesting that the Bavarian factory has already inked a deal that will see it move into the premier class in 2027 as the championship undergoes its most radical rule change since moving from 800cc machines to the current 1000cc bikes at the start of 2012.

It's an open secret that Dorna is retaining the two grid spots vacated by Suzuki for an additional factory entry only, even to the detriment of rejecting KTM's plea for expansion for 2024.

And with the likes of Triumph, Kawasaki and Suzuki showing no interest in a return to the premier class, it provides an easy pathway for BMW to join the championship for the first time in the modern era.

BMW has also already assembled a strong team to help it make it happen. It has snatched up former EWC and WSBK champion (and former Suzuki MotoGP test rider) Sylvain Guintoli to head up the EWC team and WSBK development programme, before then also bringing sometime MotoGP podium finisher and factory KTM racer Bradley Smith into the fold, making for a truly potent test rider line-up - especially for a factory not currently involved in MotoGP.

Bradley Smith and Sylvain Guintoli, BMW, WSBK

And, with the new rules marking the perfect time to enter MotoGP (just as the last significant changes in 2016 did for both Suzuki and KTM), it’s even something that would be welcomed by some of BMW's prospective factory rivals.

“I see BMW quite fast in testing in Superbike with Razgatlioglu,” said Aprilia team boss Masimo Rivola at last month’s Sepang test. “So it would be nice.

“To be honest, with all respect, we need more constructors than [another] satellite team… For the benefit of the sport, to make it bigger.

“I don't know if Kawasaki or Suzuki wants to come back, but it would be nice to have a [new] manufacturer on board for sure.”

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