Illya Mykhalchyk has highlighted the “big step” his BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team made during the winter as being key to the squad’s podium finish in last month’s 24 Heures Motos.
Despite a crash during the night costing vital time, Mykhalchyk joined team-mates Jérémy Guarnoni and Markus Reiterberger in finishing round one of the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship in third position.
Speaking following the Le Mans race, Mykhalchyk said: “For sure victory is something special and you cannot compare with a podium, but in 24 hours the podium is almost like a victory for all teams, especially last year, which was bad luck for us. The BMW factory team made a really big step this winter and solved the problems that we had last year.”
Mykhalchyk’s performance in the twice-around-the-clock event was particularly notable after he set the fastest race lap. The Ukraine rider’s time of 1m35.751s broke Gregg Black’s previous record of 1m36.195s set on a Yoshimura SERT Motul-run Suzuki in 2022.
“The bike was unbelievable,” Mykhalchyk continued. “In the night I did a small mistake with an overtake and we lose three or four laps but the team did a really good job to repair the bike. The feeling was nice for all 24 hours and I’m really happy for me and my team.”
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team will compete on home soil next when Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium hosts round two of the 2023 EWC season, the 24H SPA EWC Motos.