This is the playground for Penz13.com Bathams by BMW Motorrad. Team boss Rico Penzkofer and his crew hired 13-time winner Michael Rutter for the biggest international road races, and the North West 200 feels like his living room.
Stephen Thompson, who is basically a local over there, has joined Canadian Dan Kruger, who got a good taste of road racing after he joined the squad last year. With brand new bikes and not much testing, the whole team was conscious about what to expect from the first practice session. While Kruger had most concerns about his fitness and Rutter about the lack of seat time, Thompson was one of the quickest right from the start.
The mixed conditions, with strong winds, occasional rain and low temperature, doesn’t make this race a favourite for racers. The rain hit the circuit right on time for the opening practice. Alistair Seeley posted the fastest times in three of four qualifying sessions in tricky conditions on the opening day. The Penz13 squad – only racing in the Superbike and Superstock class – is more than happy with how the first practice came along.